A young diabetic's story

Date published

13 Jul 2020

“I didn’t know how to comfort my seven-year-old daughter,” Karratha-based mother Kelly Gudgeon said.

Every parent’s worst fear is feeling helpless when your child is unwell – a feeling Kelly experienced first-hand when her daughter, Avalon, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

After attending a birthday party the day prior where there was plenty of cake and sugary treats on hand, Avalon woke in the morning with a stomach ache, headache and blurred vision.

Kelly immediately took her daughter to the emergency room at the Karratha Medical Campus who quickly identified and diagnosed Avalon with Type 1 Diabetes.

Kelly was shocked and didn’t know what to make of the diagnosis.

“This is not something that we thought a seven year old girl should be having to deal with.”

“I was feeling so out of control, this is not something I’ve ever had to deal with. I didn’t know how to comfort my seven-year-old daughter.”

RFDS transferred Avalon to Perth Children’s Hospital so she could receive treatment the same day.

“The RFDS doctors and flight nurses were amazing. They were so caring, they had us up the front of the plane and continually checked in with both myself and my daughter,” Kelly said.

“Really they are the most incredible people. The crew involved us in their conversation, trying to put us at ease and to ensure we were as comfortable as possible on the flight down to Perth.”

Upon their return to home in the Pilbara, Kelly is glad to report that Avalon is starting to get on top of her diabetes.

“It’s a constant struggle figuring out what foods she can and can’t eat, and that’s going to be a life long struggle for her - something we are learning to manage,” she said.

Since moving to the Pilbara region along with her first-hand experience, Kelly now understands the importance of having the Flying Doctor providing essential healthcare services to regional and remote Western Australians each and every day.

“We were from the city and never really got it until we moved to the country. They really are a lifeline,” she said.

“The work that they do throughout regional Australia is just so essential.

“Without the RFDS I don’t know where regional Australia would be. We wouldn’t be able to access any of the medical care that the people in the city access.”

Avalon's RFDs retrieval
Avalon at Perth Children's Hospital
Avalon and Kelly Post retrieval