Brianna out to get jump on diabetes

12 year old Brianna Norris has type 1 diabetes and is planning to skydive to raise money for the cause.
12 year old Brianna Norris has type 1 diabetes and is planning to skydive to raise money for the cause. Sarah Harvey

A 12-YEAR-OLD Yamanto girl will leap out of a plane from 14,000 feet next month to raise awareness for type one diabetes.

Brianna Norris was diagnosed with the condition at age five when her pancreas failed and her body began shutting down.

Weighing only 12kg doctors could not pinpoint what was wrong with her after she lost 4kg in just a couple of days.

"She was heading into a coma, by the time they admitted her to hospital," mother-of-three Teri Norris said.

Mrs Norris said she had been taking her daughter to the doctors for two weeks only to receive no answers.

"Mum said I was turning grey," Brianna said. Brianna was admitted to hospital with anorexia when blood tests revealed she had type one diabetes - that was eight years ago.

Since then Brianna has pricked her fingers 23,500 times to monitor her blood sugar levels in order to stay alive.

Mum Teri must wake every two hours during the night to take her levels to ensure they don't drop causing her to have a hypo attack.

"As soon as my levels hit the three to four mark, that is dangerous and I could go into a coma," the Bremer State High School student said.

Brianna has hypo attacks sometimes daily and as a hypo-unaware patient, she doesn't know when her blood sugar levels are dropping.

"My first diabetic fit was scary," Brianna said.

"It took me four hours to speak. I lost control of my whole left hand side. I tried to scream out to mum in the next room and I couldn't.

"This is something I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life until there is a cure and that's why we are jumping."

Brianna must wear a pump on her waist which acts as a pancreas to inject insulin into her body 24 hours a day.

She must record the carbohydrates she consumes in every meal into the pump.

"I got teased a lot at primary school because I would have to eat in class and the other kids would have to wait."

Brianna and her mum will jump out of plane on March 16 at Coolum to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Topics:  brianna norris, diabetes, health



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