Newcastle Living Magazine
Helping Children In Need
The Hunter Children’s Research Foundation (HCRF) raises funds for important research into children’s terminal and debilitating illnesses. Over $2.2 million has been raised by this dedicated volunteer committee since they formed in 1996, thanks to donations from the community.
Money raised by HCRF stays in the Hunter to fund children’s research projects in areas like asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and complications from premature birth – which can affect any family, any time.
One world-leading research project the HCRF have raised funds for is in the area of Type 1 diabetes. Dr Carmel Smart and Prof Bruce King lead this work. They are internationally renowned clinical researchers based in Newcastle. Many families across Newcastle and the Hunter will have met Carmel as she has worked with children and families at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital for over 20 years. One of the huge challenges for families of children living with Type 1 diabetes is managing complex daily calculations of every single item of food or drink, every ingredient a child eats to avoid dangerous variations in their insulin levels.
If Type 1 diabetes is not managed properly, it can cause severe damage to the body and may even be fatal. Complications include heart, kidney and nerve damage and blindness. Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly during childhood or infancy and there is nothing a parent could have done to prevent it. The exact cause is unknown and is often diagnosed in early childhood. It is a lifelong disease.
The research team have developed a first of its kind tool – a program accessed by smartphone that allows people to input specific foods or ingredients of meals and automatically calculate the required insulin dosage needed. They have been completing a randomised control trial to optimise dosing for fat, protein and carbohydrate for children and adolescents. This world-first clinical trial is currently being held in Newcastle and the Hunter with local families.
To hear from parents impacted by this HCRF funded research, please watch this heart-warming video via the QR code to learn more.
Become a supporter of HCRF. To find out more visit hmri.org.au/hunter-childrens-research-foundation
Dr Carmel Smart