December 1, 2022
Nearly two years to the day since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Victoria Park’s Thomas Haughey took to the ground at Mineral Resources Park to meet premiership-winning West Coast Eagles forward Jamie Cripps, who also has the incurable condition.
In the lead up to Christmas in 2020, Thomas spent a week in hospital after falling seriously ill with diabetic ketoacidosis due to his then-undiagnosed diabetes.
Since then, the sporty 12-year-old and his family have been on a steep learning curve to manage the autoimmune condition, which requires constant vigilant monitoring.
Still, the Victoria Park Junior Football Club player hasn’t let the diagnosis hold him back and when the opportunity came to take part in Mineral Resources’ Fun Footy Clinic for kids with diabetes, held by Diabetes Research WA this week, he jumped at it.
“One of the first things I did when I was diagnosed was searched up which famous sports stars have type 1 diabetes, so meeting Crippa, finding out about his AFL career and learning from him was a great experience,” explained Thomas.
Says Thomas’ mum, Kelly: “Thomas has been amazing since he was told the news about his diabetes; he was back at cricket training within a few weeks of diagnosis but opportunities like this footy clinic are still important and can have a big, positive impact.”
Dozens of other WA children with type 1 diabetes took part in the event supported by a raft of Eagles and AFLW players.
Diabetes Research WA executive director Sherl Westlund said Jamie’s AFL success had inspired many people with diabetes.
“We’re incredibly grateful to Jamie, the other players and our sponsors and supporters for making this footy clinic a reality because we never know just how far the ripples of such wonderful events will travel for these children,” she said.
Event sponsors and supporters included Mineral Resources, Dinner Twist, Burley Sekem, IGA East Victoria Park and the Telethon Kids Institute.
Diabetes Research WA receives no government funding, making community and corporate donations critical.
Visit diabetesresearchwa.com.au to support its grants program which funds groundbreaking WA diabetes research.