Smart idea to care for teens

GEORGIE Preston knows of the challenges of living with type one diabetes.

She has fainted, felt isolated and struggled with maintaining blood sugar levels while enduring the stress of completing Year 12.

The 17 year old from Leongatha South has channelled her experiences into designing an app for mobile phones that will connect diabetic teenagers across Australia.

Georgie is one of just five finalists from 700 entries across Australia to be chosen to fly to Sydney on December 3. She will meet with app designers in a bid to make her vision a reality, as part of the national app design competition, Samsung Adappt.

At the end of the four day Samsung Adappt Bootcamp, finalists will pitch their prototypes to judges in the hope of winning a $10,000 grant to advance their design.

“It will be just a prototype app and hopefully in the future it will be an app for everyone to use,” Georgie said.

Regardless of the outcome of the bootcamp, Georgie’s idea has already attracted interest from Diabetes Australia.

Her app design includes functions for diabetics to network, and access news, management tips and recipes, particularly for young people leaving home and cooking for themselves.

“Hopefully the app can be used by non-diabetics as well, such as friends, to understand what their friends are going through,” Georgie said.

The former Leongatha Secondary College student gained the skills to develop her idea after attending a YMCA LaunchPad camp in Melbourne designed to encourage teenagers to pursue their visions for a social enterprise.

Georgie developed diabetes in Year 7. Despite being the condition most common chronic disease among children, she felt at a loss.

“I felt really alone in Year 12 because no one else in my school had type one diabetes, so no one really understood what it was like to be dealing with it,” she said.

Georgie sought out networking opportunities for young diabetics online but without success and so contemplated creating her own.

Then she saw an advertisement for the Samsung competition on Facebook and entered the day before entries closed.

“Halfway through my exams I got a phone call to say I was one of five finalists. I was just stoked,” Georgie said.

“I didn’t want to finish my exams. I just wanted to do this.”

Year 12 was a challenging year. Stress increased Georgie’s blood sugar levels to the point she fainted during a test and she collapsed in the doctor’s clinic after her insulin pump malfunctioned.

Now everyday, she self administers six insulin injections and up to 10 blood sugar tests.

“You get used to it but sometimes you have off days and that’s when you want someone who knows what having diabetes is like,” she said.

Beyond Year 12, Georgie plans to work for a year and then study nursing, with the ultimate aim of becoming a diabetes educator.

 Innovative teen: Georgie Preston of Leongatha South is one of five national finalists vying to win an app design competition. She has created a concept for an app to link and inform teenage diabetics.

Innovative teen: Georgie Preston of Leongatha South is one of five national finalists vying to win an app design competition. She has created a concept for an app to link and inform teenage diabetics.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=16776

Posted by on Nov 24 2015. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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