Esperance schools show wave of support for World Diabetes Day

Esperance schools transformed their classrooms into seas of blue on Thursday, November 14, to show support for World Diabetes Day.

Nulsen Primary School, Esperance Primary School, Castletown Primary School and Esperance Senior High School held gold coin free dress days to teach students about how they can prevent type two diabetes.

After losing his wife to diabetes complications three years ago, dedicated local Ian Campbell took it upon himself to inspire schools to speak out about the issue.

Mr Campbell visited each school across the day and led an assembly for kindergarten to year six students at Nulsen Primary School.

He said it was important to inform students that the healthy choices they make now, could prevent the onset of the rapidly growing and potentially devastating disease.

"I think its been a fantastic day, from little things big things grow, hopefully down the track this can progress into more schools," Mr Campbell said.

"To me this is the perfect place to start because if you can get the awareness through the schools and through the families, then you are starting to get the message home."

Nulsen Primary School teacher Lynley Neill said the day was an opportunity to grow awareness among students and encourage healthy habits.

"It's really important for the children to understand that it is a lifestyle that they need to monitor, through the exercise and healthy eating that we promote through the school," she said.

"It is great to have Mr Campbell come on board and encourage the children to think about those lifestyle choices and also raise awareness of the charity itself."

Castletown Primary School acting principal Julie Fetherston said the school had raised more than $500 through their free dress day.

"Each term our student leaders like to choose a special cause to support," Mrs Fetherston said.

"Diabetes is one that often affects schools and their students so it was a cause that they were very willing to support and to make the school community more aware about."

Diabetes WA health services general manager Deb Schofield said there are 780 Esperance residents living with diabetes.

"We're really grateful to Ian Campbell and the four Esperance Schools for raising awareness about type 2 diabetes, and for raising funds to help us provide services to all Western Australians living with diabetes," she said.

The year's theme for World Diabetes Day was 'Diabetes and the Family'.

Families were urged to discuss their risk of type two diabetes and learn the warning signs necessary to prevent the complications that can occur if the disease is left untreated.

According to Diabetes WA, 28 people are diagnosed with diabetes every day in Western Australia, and 4.3 per cent of people in Esperance live with type two diabetes.