It’s sometimes awkward for 20 year old Bryce Riches when he has to lift his shirt in a public place and inject himself with insulin.
“I was in a shopping centre the other day,” said Bryce. “Kids were staring at me, young kids who don’t understand what I’m doing. They probably thought I was taking drugs.”
Bryce was diagnosed as having type 1 diabetes when he was 15. He doesn’t resent it, although he acknowledges that it’s sometimes inconvenient.
“I try most of the time but I don’t always get it perfect. My (blood sugar) levels are pretty good seeing as I’m not on a pump. I had that option but I didn’t want a device controlling my lifestyle.”
So instead of using a pump, Bryce takes frequent blood sugar readings and accordingly injects himself with insulin. He decided against the pump because he’s fairly active and he’d find it too restrictive.
“It’s like a little pouch… a needle sits under your skin and you can press a button to send a couple of units of insulin into your body. But I’d have to take it off to go swimming or do sport and you can’t have it off for too long. It wasn’t for me.”
Bryce, who grew up at Newlands Arm and now lives in Bairnsdale, plays soccer and this year took up footy.
This Sunday he’ll be taking part in a Walk to Cure Diabetes at Howitt Park, as a member of ‘The Funkys’ team. Participants will follow the Mitchell River walking track and there’ll be a barbecue and other activities.
Jess O’Reilly is organising the event in Bairnsdale and other Walks are being held on different days in many towns around Australia. It’s a fundraiser for JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which is the world’s largest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research.
If Bryce gets more than $1,000 in sponsorship support, he promises to walk in a dress. As of Wednesday, he was just $100 short of that. With your support, Bryce will be trying on dresses before the weekend.