Ange Liston-McCaughley is an inspiring Australian with a vision and clear focus to support others. She is a mum of four gorgeous children and comes from a large supportive family. She is the founder of Type 1 Foundation. A foundation that supports the emotional journey of families living with Type 1 Diabetes. She is also a marathon runner, having completed 12 marathons in her life, proudly completing one in each state of Australia to recognise the wide spread awareness of the life long illness of diabetes. With a background in fashion not only is Ange extremely friendly and caring she rocks out any outfit with style!
Q and A with ‘Destination Happiness’:
Which aspect of wellness is your current focus?
The Type 1 Foundation has a current focus of support for families when a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes occurs. The foundation is not research based or even looking for a cure, it is acknowledging and supporting the ‘human element’ of a diagnosis of this life long illness. The support is around the concept of ‘right here, right now’, in the moment of diagnosis what is needed for that family? Support and connection of Type 1 families is something that drives the foundation. A diagnosis of a life long illness comes with so many strong emotions – isolation, fear and constant worry, just to name a few. The Type 1 Foundation aim to support the family through this difficult time and change the ‘‘feeling of focus’ to community, awareness and support.
Some of the services and programs offered by Type 1 Foundation include – Diagnosis Care Packs delivered to families (including special items for all family members), Camps for kids, teens and families, family events, emotional support and Mums dinners.
The Foundation began with 4 families connecting and supporting each other and is now a National program supporting over 600 families!
When and why did your passion and purpose for supporting others begin?
My daughter Lila was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 9 (she is now a teenager). There was a traumatic misdiagnosis situation that I will forever say no family should ever have to experience. This most definitely is one of the motivations of why I began the Foundation.
Once Lila was diagnosed and our family accepted the diagnosis and experienced all the emotions that came with this I was constantly on alert, to the point where my anxiety was challenging. To overcome this mental health challenge I decided to run a marathon (yes I am that person who has never run in my life and announces this crazy goal!). I trained, I focused and I completed the Great Ocean Road Marathon to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes. I had a Facebook blog following that grew stronger and stronger and managed to not only raise awareness but also much needed funds for charity. I then made the bold statement of ‘I am going to run 10 marathons in every state in Australia to raise even more awareness of Diabetes’ and yes, I achieved this goal. 10 marathons in one year. The donations and support kept flowing in so after another 2 marathons, including a significant one in New York to honour the tragic loss of Madison Lyden, a much loved Australian tragically killed in NY. I decided to start my own charity, and Type 1 Foundation was born 4 years ago.
The passion behind my purpose is driven by the motivation to support the emotional journey of Type 1 families. It is most definitely a whole family challenge and I was aware of other fabulous charities for Diabetes but not one with a sole focus on care and support. Building a strong Type 1 community can most definitely build not only awareness in our community but also connection and support for families.
Who is your most significant inspiration?
Without a doubt Lila was my initial inspiration to begin the Foundation. Not only to raise awareness for the life long illness my little girl will be faced with but to also surround our family with the love and support we constantly need.
The inspiration has now flowed onto the families of our foundation. The first initial trauma of diagnosis is a major hurdle for many people and the foundation aims to be there from that first moment. To support a family through this isolating time is a vital step in connecting them with hope and support. I have also begun to realise that our Type 1 teenagers need even more support than others, something we will be working towards in the future.
What other key people are part of your journey?
The Type 1 Foundation is made up of 10 Board members and some working operational committees. All these hard working volunteers have some sort of relationship with Type 1. I am extremely lucky to have supportive parents and siblings that give up their time to not only sit on the Board but also volunteer endless hours when we hold our Type 1 Foundation events. We also have an army of volunteers that are so reliable and dedicated to the Foundation.
Type 1 Foundation has just launched Nationally and we have a number of people involved in the donations, organisation and support of our camps, family events, care packages and Mums dinners. We support over 600 families across Australia and our most recent family event had about 400 people attend. Bringing families together to connect on a personal level is what drives us each and every day.
What do you see as the next step in your journey?
The next step in our journey would be to raise enough money to be able to send all Type 1 families to a camp. To allow them to not be financially challenged due to this disease and to invest in time together to work through the emotions and achievements of all of us. We will continue to connect at the initial diagnosis stage with our special Care Packages and we are also rolling out our Mums Dinners nationally. Get a group of mums around a table with a bottle of wine and a meal, throw in the common denominator of diabetes and there is so much potential for that feeling of connection.
We would love the support of the community to raise much needed funds to support our family programs but we also aim to educate on the awareness and symptoms of the disease.
All information for the membership and donations to Type 1 Foundation can be found at www.type1foundation.com.au
Emotional support of families with diabetes is the glue that will stick them together. The disease has no current cure but we can most definitely put our focus on what is achievable and the community connection and support of our Type 1 families is most definitely our goal!