by Helen Holt
Timaru diabetic Jax Rolton can now lead a much more normal life, thanks to a $5400 donation from Freemason charities.
Eight-year-old Jax was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May last year.
His mother Amber Rolton took him to the doctor during Alert Level 3, because she noticed he was thirstier than usual and low on energy.
“He was drinking like a fish, and weeing lots. He would be drinking four to five glasses of 700ml each day. There were massive changes to his energy levels, like some days he couldn’t ride his bike.
“I left it for a week, thinking it might just be a virus, but eventually I decided something was definitely wrong.”
She took him to the GP, where tests were done, before the doctor told her Jax would be going to hospital for three days.
Mrs Rolton said she was glad the diabetes was caught early, or he might have suffered damage to his organs.
“I don’t think I would’ve noticed as quickly if we weren’t in lockdown.
“If he was going to school it might’ve taken longer for us to notice.
“But as a mother, you just know.
“You just know something’s not right.”
It was a big adjustment for her and Jax’s father Darryl to manage his diabetes.
“It was like having a newborn baby again.
“I’d constantly have to wake up in the night to check his blood sugar levels.
“The doctors told us so much information all at once.
“It was so overwhelming learning so much information about Jax’s condition that he’ll have for the rest of his life.
“For the rest of lockdown we were constantly googling and reading books about his condition.
“It was like being back in school studying for exams.”
However, Jax took it like a champ.
“He’s been awesome.
“He’s just adapted so well.
“Before we left hospital, he knew how to inject himself with the insulin.”
Jax’s parents looked into a subscription for a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which would read his glucose level and send the information to a smartphone.
It is attached to his arm, and is used instead of a finger prick or a scanner.
The glucose reading is sent to Mrs Rolton’s phone and Jax’s (which he is strictly only allowed for the CGM).
The machine costs $379 a month for 12 months ($4548 total).
The family received a collective donation of $5400 from the Midland Masonic Charitable Trust, Freemasons Charity and the Ara Aorangi Timaru lodge.
Mrs Rolton said she was blown away by the donation.
“I almost cried.
“It’s so nice for them to donate back to the community.”
The donation gave the family a kick-start with the cost, she said.
“This way we’ll have the money in the bank for when we need it.
“Jax often complains about pricking his finger.
“He says it’s a pain.
“Not just the physical pain, but the hassle of doing it several times a day.
“It’s also given me peace of mind.
“Instead of waking up in the middle of the night and going upstairs to check his blood sugar, I can just look at my phone.”
Mrs Rolton said the Dexcom G6 CGM was like the Rolls-Royce of diabetes management technology.
Jax would also receive an insulin pump next month, so he would not have to inject himself as frequently.
“The pump will hopefully give his tummy a break from having to inject himself,” she said.
His parents said the pump and the CGM would help him have as normal a life as possible.
“He was really looking forward to starting touch rugby last year, but then lockdown hit and then he had to adjust to the diabetes,” Mrs Rolton said.
“He loves playing basketball and touch rugby.
“We want him to be just like a normal boy.”