Every kid has their highs and lows, but the difference can mean life or death when it comes to blood sugar. Allora brothers Benjamin and James Mason have to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels as they both live with Type 1 diabetes.
Every kid has their highs and lows, but the difference can mean life or death when it comes to blood sugar. Allora brothers Benjamin and James Mason have to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels as they both live with Type 1 diabetes. Marian Faa

Two brothers turn federal leadership coup into $54m success

THE Mason family could not have picked a more contentious time to step into the Prime Minister's office and ask for $54 million that would change their lives and those of about 120,000 others.

Travelling all the way to Canberra in a bid to secure funding for research into Type 1 diabetes, Allora parents Hayley and Mark with their young sons Benjamin and James found themselves in the middle of a dramatic leadership spill.

The next day, Malcolm Turnbull was ousted from his prime ministership.

"It was a pretty intense time to be in the Prime Minister's office, a day before one of the biggest political coups in Australian history," Mr Mason said.

With all the opportunity for distraction, the family might have feared their important message was lost.

But five months later, they were elated to find out that was not the case.

On February 6, the Coalition government announced it would allocate $54 million to towards researching type 1 diabetes through the Clinical Research Network.

Benjamin and James with their parents Hayley and Mark Mason.
Benjamin and James with their parents Hayley and Mark Mason. Marian Faa

For Benjamin and James, who both live with type 1 diabetes, the funding is a branch of hope that scientists might one day find a cure for the life-altering illness that keeps them constantly hooked to an insulin pump to stay alive.

"Type 1 diabetes currently exists and it attacks suffers for no known reason," Mr Mason said.

The illness is an incurable auto-immune disease that inhibits the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

Since their two children were diagnosed with the illness, Mr and Mrs Mason have had to keep a strict regime of monitoring diet, exercise and the boys' insulin levels to make sure their bodies can function properly.

Reflecting on the funding win, Mr Mason said he had nothing but thanks for politicians who heard his family's message despite political tensions at the time.

"What was really positive on both sides of politics was they took the time to listen to our story, hear what we had to say and understand why this money was so critical," he said.

"It was really heartening to see the politicians are human and it wasn't just about politics it was about getting a really good outcome for the nation."

Mr Mason praised Maranoa MP David Littleproud in particular, who hosted the family in his ministerial office.

"I have to say the effort David has shown in supporting us and supporting JDRF has been phenomenal, he was nothing short of amazing on that day," Mr Mason said.



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