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Margaret and Kaye are two South Australian women whose lives have both been controlled by the same devastating condition.

Because of kind, generous people like you, world-first research has given back the life Margaret deserves.

To put yourself in the unfortunate shoes of both these women just for a minute, please imagine a life where you aren’t able to make your own decisions and your future is uncertain…You’re frightened of driving to the shops or taking your dog for a walk because you’ve lost all control of your body. And your life.

Sadly, this is the harsh reality for thousands of people suffering with type 1 diabetes today. But, thanks to you a precious life was saved from this debilitating condition.

Because of you, Margaret Harrigan was the first person in SA to receive an islet transplant for her type 1 diabetes
Margaret Harrigan with her husband Kerry.

Margaret’s is a story of hope. Her life was ruled by diabetes for 36 long years, but with your kind support, Margaret now has her life back. Because of you, Margaret Harrigan was the first person in SA to receive an islet transplant that cured her type 1 diabetes.

Margaret’s condition is not unusual. As a school teacher, devoted wife and grandmother all Margaret wanted was to live a normal life. But due to her diabetes Margaret suffered from hypoglycaemic (hypo) episodes, where her blood sugar dropped so low it left her feeling severely unwell, sometimes even causing her to lose consciousness.

She never knew when another episode would happen and had to give up her beloved role as a teacher because of it.

“You’re constantly thinking ‘am I alright?’ I was finger pricking to check my blood sugar levels between 15 to 20 times a day just to make sure.”

“I had to have my husband on speed dial. I remember having a really major hypo one day. I went to go check my sugar, but it wasn’t registering… before I hit the floor I pressed 9 on my phone. When he answered his phone and there was no answer, he knew he had to get home.

“This is my story of hope. It’s pure freedom knowing I’m safe. There’s no more worrying. And now when the kids ring me to look after the grandchildren, I can say yes! I was just so lucky and I wish the transplant was offered to everyone or better still, a cure.”

Margaret was one of the lucky ones. But thousands of Australians, like Kaye Frearson, aren’t so lucky. Kaye has been struggling with this condition since she was 26 years old.

Kaye Frearson.
Kaye Frearson.

“I’ve been controlled by diabetes for 38 years of my life, having three or four hypo episodes a week, and the scary thing is no one can tell when I’m having an episode anymore.”

“I find it hard to make decisions about the future because I don’t know if I’ll be in it. I feel like I’m trapped in a web and there is no way to get out. I’m done. I just want a normal life.”

Sadly, the reality is 1 Australian develops diabetes every 5 minutes. With your support Professor Toby Coates and his team are dedicated to ensuring those suffering can have a future without diabetes.

Thanks to you, we have made many exciting advances. Prof Coates has proved islet transplantation has been successful for people like Margaret.

But only patients who suffer from extreme hypo episodes can qualify for the transplant due to so many complexities. You can help change this.

Prof Coates has recently developed a unique 3D printer with the ability to print insulin-producing islet cells for transplant. This is a major research breakthrough.

This printer has the potential to help treat this chronic condition that’s controlling thousands of Australian lives.This revolutionary development involves creating a custom designed 3D structure of an artificial pancreas containing ink comprised of islet cells, along with other cells protecting the islets once transplanted.

“Our goal is to use the patient’s own cells to grow the islet cells they need to produce insulin, solving the problem of donor rejection and the need for additional medication,” said Prof Coates.

With your support, Prof Coates and his team of experts can advance this new development more quickly into clinical trials and save more lives.

Margaret is grateful for the research that saved her, but thousands of people are still waiting for that life-changing phone call for an islet transplant like Kaye. With your support, Prof Coates and his revolutionary treatment can help save more lives from diabetes. You can read more about Prof Coates’ research here, and read more of Kaye’s story here.

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