Joane with her mum, Brenda. Joane is a Taekwondo champion from kuching and has Type 1 Diabetes.

On the outskirts of Kuching, Sarawak, lives a rising star in the world of martial arts. Earlier this year, at the age of 15, Joane won two gold medals at the Taekwondo Asia-Pacific School Games out of 1,700 competitors.

Joane’s dream? To go to the Olympic games.

She seems to have the dedication. Before defeating the Black Belt favourite from China in the semi-final, Joane trained nearly every day for 4 months. On Sundays alone, she would wake up at 3am and run for 12km, before pulling a tire for the final 4km.

However, unlike those she was facing in the ring, Joane had an added test.

Joane showing her skills in Taekwondo training

Type 1 Diabetes: an extra challenge

Last year, at the age of 14, Joane was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

In the Asia-Pacific competition, Joane beat fierce opposition from across the continent, including a girl from Uzbekistan in the final.

Represtenting her country for Taekwondo

Joane’s extraordinary dedication towards her Taekwondo training is the same dedication that she shows towards her Type 1 Diabetes management.

Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable condition that strikes indiscriminately. If untreated, it is fatal.

Every day, must Joane injects herself 4 times with Insulin as well as regularly testing her blood sugar levels. Although she says that exercise helps her manage her sugar levels, this Insulin is vital.

Meet Joane!

Through our partners at Kuching General Hospital, Action4Diabetics (A4D) provides Joane with free Insulin and blood testing equipment. As she is on the A4D Clinic Support Programme.

But it was not always like this.

The cost of Type 1 Diabetes

A4D only began operations in Sarawak, Malaysia, in 2018. Until then, families who had a child with Type 1 Diabetes could be spending as much as 50% of their income on essential medication and support.

This was the case for Joane and her mother, Brenda. Since Joane’s father died when she was only 6 months old, the mother-and-daughter team managed to get by through Brenda’s job at a health spa.

Joane and her mother, Brenda outside their home in Kuching.

However, when Type 1 Diabetes struck, life changed.

The costs of the care were so high, that Joane’s Taekwondo progress ground to a halt. She could not afford to take her final exam: Black Belt.

Joane needs to take this exam if she wants to achieve her dream of reaching the Olympics. In the U.K., the care would have been free on the NHS.

How can you help Joane achieve her Taekwondo dream?

Although she has already completed her Red Belt, Black Belt is the level needed to get into the Malaysian training squad, and we believe she deserves the opportunity and support to do so.

Type 1 Diabetes should not inhibit an extraordinary young girl like Joane from achieving her dream like it does not stop athletes in the U.K. or other developed countries.

Please show your support for this young girl and her mother with a donation towards the £240 that will help her make the next step towards her Olympic dream.

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