Four year-old Harri Browne, of Queanbeyan, who has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, pictured at the Canberra Hospital with his parents Jamie and Mel Browne, diabetes educator Michelle Angrove, second from left, and diabetes clinical nurse consultant Di Roberts, standing. Photo: Richard Briggs
FOUR-YEAR-OLD Harri's new bear Rufus has something a bit different about him. They met in the Canberra Hospital just over a week ago, which is unsurprising, given that the bear has been through a lot lately.
Under his furry outer layers, you would hardly suspect it, but Rufus has diabetes and needs regular injections.
Harri, of Queanbeyan, is becoming quite good at administering the shots because he too has been recently diagnosed with type one juvenile diabetes.
Harri's mother, Mel Browne, said the relationship had been warming up lately after a rocky start.
It has been Rufus' job to help Harri adjust to life with diabetes and that has been proving difficult.
''Whenever Harri has his finger pricked, he does Rufus's as well,'' she said.
''He is slowly getting used to it but he has his bad days. My hope is that a cure for type one diabetes will be found because it is very hard and a lot of people do struggle with it especially kids,'' she said.
May is Jelly Baby month, an annual fund-raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which sells lollies and merchandise. It aims to find a cure for type one diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
Ms Browne said that adjusting to life with Harri's diabetes had been ''like a roller-coaster'' and there were patches of loneliness on the way.
''I have been learning a lot more about diabetes since he was diagnosed and it's been a bit of an information overload,'' she said.
''Even though we have had incredible support from family and friends it's amazing how lonely you can feel and you can think that there's no one who knows how you feel, but obviously there are.
''But you have to look at it this way: he is still with us, it's not terminal. And with the help of his doctors he will be able to lead a full life.''
Mrs Browne said she supported the research foundation's work in searching for the cure.
You can buy the research foundation's jelly baby products in supermarkets, pharmacies, schools and workplaces across Australia, or check the website for details at www.jdrf.org.au.