A Mum’s Life-Changing Gift – Why Jane Gives Back to Research
As a result of her type 1 diabetes, Jane Banning was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and looking at a life of daily dialysis. That was until her loving mother changed her life by offering her the greatest gift of all, a kidney transplant.
Considering her experience is living proof that research saves lives, Jane felt it only fitting to give back to help others living with the same chronic conditions. Last year Jane became a KTD champion and now regularly supports chronic kidney disease and diabetes research through Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia – confident research will lead to a cure for both the diseases that have affected her life.
Jane was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only 12-years-old. Her mum Catherine vividly remembers the moments leading up to the eventual diagnosis.
“It became a very hot summer, we went to Sydney for holidays and Jane was drinking lots and lots of water. Then she began losing weight, so I started thinking what if she’s got diabetes,” Catherine recounts.
“I was a registered nurse so one day I brought home a test aid and sure enough it showed up –Jane had diabetes.”
On the brink of teenage hood, Jane’s life changed forever after that moment. Spending a week in the children’s ward to adjust to her new life, Jane learnt how to inject herself with insulin, a daily routine she has now been following for almost 40 years.
“At first I struggled with having diabetes. I didn’t want to be any different from my friends,” Jane said.
Around 15 years after her diagnosis, Jane began picking up on signs that her kidneys weren’t functioning properly, a common side effect of diabetes.
“I started noticing dermatitis on my hands and around my limbs, nose and face. I also realised I was retaining a lot of fluid, one morning I woke up to go to work and I couldn’t get my nursing shoes on. I thought something was not right here,” Jane said.
Sure enough Jane had chronic kidney failure. For almost nine years she was able to manage her condition, until it became clear she would need to be on dialysis.
“I ended up on dialysis for 13 months at the end there, before my wonderful mother kindly offered to donate her kidney to me.”
Jane and Catherine’s surgery was performed at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and despite a few setbacks, the operation was a huge success. So much so that twelve years later, Jane’s donated kidney is still functioning well.
“My kidney is still going strong, I feel very lucky.”
Whilst still living with her diabetes, Jane knows she’s one of the lucky ones to have had a successful kidney transplant. It’s for this reason she supports research, not only because advancements have saved her life, but so it can continue to save the lives of others.
“I’m living proof that medical research saves lives, and I wanted to give back to it. It’s something I can put money towards and I know that all of what I’m giving is going to a great cause,” Jane said.
“I think a cure for diabetes will come one day thanks to research,” Catherine added.
Wanting to use her own experience to help others, Jane is also studying a Diploma of Counselling with the aim of helping people living with diabetes and kidney disease.
You can join Jane as a KTD Champion and support vital research that is changing the lives of people living with these chronic disease!