AFTER losing his brother to diabetes, Mount Gambier resident Gaz Von Duve has taken it upon himself to raise awareness of the disease – which unbeknownst to many can be life threatening.
At just 33 years old, Lucas Brennan last year sadly lost his 16 year long battle with type 1 diabetes – an auto immune condition which has no known cure or prevention.
“I was close with Luke, but we had grown apart and I didn’t realise just how sick he was,” Mr Von Duve said.
“I didn’t think diabetes could be so deadly when not treated correctly and it was really a wake up call for the whole family to make sure we are looking after ourselves.”
With his mother, grandmother and niece Ashton – Lucas’ daughter – all diagnosed with the disease, Mr Von Duve said this was a chance for them to not only make sure they are treating the disease correctly, but to raise awareness of diabetes and just how serious it can be.
“I think Luke was a bit rebellious, he didn’t want to be told to do something and by the time he was 26 and taking insulin it was already too late – 10 years of not following what he should have been caught up with him and it all happened a lot quicker than we thought it would,” he said.
“He was in hospital for just over a week and a half from when he had the heart attack to when he passed away – it was a long time for us to reflect on it all and really brought us close together.”
Now hoping to support others in their fight against the disease, Mr Von Duve will hold a fundraising event at the South Aussie this weekend to raise money and awareness for Diabetes SA.
“For me, personally, it is a way of celebrating my brother and getting the family together for a night where we can try and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” he said.
“Ashton recently attended a camp that was held by Diabetes SA that is designed to inform teenagers on how to manage and live with their diabetes in a way that makes them feel as though they are living a normal life.
“Hopefully by raising awareness and as much money as possible for Diabetes SA, they will be able to run more camps and information sessions so at least that way people will know that it shouldn’t be shrugged away and that it is a deadly disease.”
With a goal to raise $4000, the event will include an auction, raffle prizes and door prizes, including a 2017 signed Adelaide Crows guernsey, a weekend away in Adelaide and vouchers at local businesses.
Thankful for the support from businesses and others in the community, Mr Von Duve said if all goes well they will plan to make it a yearly event.