Sweet Talk Awards
2012 Winner Carer of the year
Megan Paterson, VIC
Carer of the Year Award
Megan Paterson of Sale has been awarded the Carer of the Year in the second annual Sweet Talk Awards, the national awards program celebrating the successes and accomplishments of everyday Australians affected by diabetes. The Sweet Talk Awards are proudly sponsored by Roche Diabetes Care, makers of Accu-Chek products.
“Take care of yourself no matter what. If you are burnt out, you are no good to the person you care for.”
Megan Paterson and her family have lived intimately with diabetes ever since her daughter Jessica, then two years old, was diagnosed with diabetes ten years ago. A year later, Jessica was one of the youngest Australians to start insulin pump therapy.
“It felt like our whole world fell apart, it was devastating,” said Megan. “I knew a bit about diabetes and I had seen the end results of complications.”
Megan was sure to act early so her daughter could see that diabetes doesn’t have to stop people from achieving their goals.
“As parents, we need to show an example and teach Jessica that diabetes will not get in her way of leading a normal life,” she explained.
“We have always said that she can do anything that kids without diabetes can do. It just means a little more planning, but we always make sure we can make it happen.”
Being there and supporting her daughter while giving her enough freedom to do things for herself as she grows up has been very difficult for Megan.
“I worry about her doing things like sleepovers and school excursions without me. I have had to step back sometimes and let her do these things despite my own fears,” she said. “One of the best things I did was speak to other parents of children with diabetes. No one really understands what it is like, but they do.”
Personally, Megan has helped raise funds for insulin pumps, organised diabetes support groups, visited schools to educate teachers, contributed to team building events, trained other diabetes teams and even represented diabetes in a local Dancing with Our Stars.
Megan says her husband has been her biggest support without doubt. “So far our greatest success is that we have managed to raise a very happy, healthy 12-year-old girl who lives life to its fullest,” she said.
“My advice is to take care of yourself no matter what. If you are burnt out, you are no good to the person you care for.
“Diabetes is 24 hours a day, seven days a week forever and you need to recognise when you are struggling. Usually a small break is enough to get you back on track. Talk to a friend, another parent or your Diabetes Educator – they are good listeners and often that is all you need.”
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