A local who lost his wife to diabetes complications has won the support of schools to boost awareness of the growing disease.
Esperance Diabetes WA representative Ian Campbell has coordinated a free-dress day between Esperance Senior High School, Nulsen Primary School and Esperance Primary School to coincide with World Diabetes Day on November 14.
Nulsen and Esperance primary will hold the day on Wednesday, November 14, and Esperance Senior High School will hold a free dress day on Friday, November 16.
Participating students will make a gold coin donation to Diabetes WA.
Mr Campbell said diabetes was a chronic disease and public awareness was vital.
“Probably 10 years ago if you asked me about diabetes, I would have assumed it was a sugar situation and if you have too much sugar, you cut that out, have a needle and everything is Kosher,” he said.
“But it just doesn’t work like that.
“I came through it first-hand when my wife passed away from it two years ago, and I saw how it doesn't just affect them personally, it affects the whole family massively.
“My young grandson who I look after, even at his age, he was having to look after his grandmother, doing things that you wouldn't ask any 10 year old kid to do.”
High school student Livinia Florisson said the free-dress day was an opportunity to support those with diabetes.
“I think we need to show that we’re there and we do care,” she said.
Mr Campbell thanked the three schools for getting on board with the day and raising awareness.
“I think this is where it starts, and hopefully it gets the message through to some parents and we can go from there,” he said.
There are 770 people in Esperance living with diabetes.
Of those, 90 per cent have type 2 diabetes, which is higher than the national average.
Diabetes WA health services operations manager Sophie McGough said Mr Campbell’s work was in line with the ‘diabetes and families’ theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day.
“Ian was a great support to his wife Deb before she sadly passed away, and now Ian is passionate about helping people to minimise their risk of type 2 diabetes,” she said.
“We are incredibly grateful to people like Ian who work in the community who campaign and raise funds on our behalf so that we can provide the free education and support to all Western Australians living with the condition.”