West Byford primary school student Paige Flatt was using her experience living with chronic diseases to raise awareness at this year’s convicts for a cause.
The 11-year-old was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life threatening genetic condition that mainly affects the lungs, digestive system and pancreas, clogging them with a sticky mucus, when she was just a month old.
Two years ago Paige was told she had also developed cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
Her mother Beth Flatt said before the diabetes diagnosis Paige already had to have physiotherapy twice a day to clear her chest, nebulised treatments up to three times a day, numerous tablets, liquid feeds and regular hospital admissions.
She said having to add insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring to the list had been traumatic.
“It’s so hard to see her watch most other kids sailing through life while she has to fight so hard and do all these horrible treatments just to stay alive,” she said.
“She’s often in pain or too exhausted to be a normal kid.”
Eager to raise awareness of both conditions and help support efforts to fund research into cures and better treatments, Paige signed up to be a junior ambassador for this year’s convicts for a cause cocktail fundraiser and auction at Fremantle prison.
The annual event would be held on November 7, a week before world diabetes day on November 14.
The event would see dozens of community members double as inmates, each raising a minimum $500 bounty for charity.
Now in its seventh year the theatrical affair aimed to attract 500 guests and channel more than $120,000 in to the charitable efforts of cystic fibrosis WA, the rotary clubs of Perth and Mount Lawley and diabetes research WA.
Paige decided to get involved in the event to find a cure for the conditions.
“I spend a lot of time in hospital and away from family and miss out on a lot of school and playing or having fun because I have to do my treatments,” she said.
“I’d be happy if I never had to do another physio session or take another tablet again.
“If me being part of this event can help find cures for these conditions or even better treatments for everyone who has them, that would be amazing.”
Cystic fibrosis WA chief executive Nigel Barker said the group needed a huge level of community support to help deliver critical services to families affected.
“Scientists have found the faulty gene responsible for cystic fibrosis and are working to find ways of repairing or replacing it,” he said.