The McLaughlin family learned 10-year-old Ayla suffered from type one diabetes only 12 weeks ago.

The news was "pretty terrifying" for her mum Tammy McLaughlin, who said she and her husband were left shell-shocked when they first heard the news.

The family attended a Teddy Bears' picnic held for diabetes sufferers yesterday as part of a series of events to raise awareness of the disease, held by Diabetes Help Tauranga to coincide with World Diabetes Day today.

Read more: Mount Maunganui school to host pilot diabetes education programme


In the Bay of Plenty, there are 10,391 people known to have diabetes.

Diabetes Help Tauranga, the Bay's only dedicated diabetes' society, has a number of events planned aimed at raising awareness of type one and type two diabetes.

Yesterday, the society welcomed International Diabetes Federation Young Ambassador and multisporter Emily Wilson to Tauranga.

Wilson is skiing, biking and hiking around New Zealand with Jerry the Bear from the USA.

She joined the team from the Centre for Health at their Arataki program and joined two families at a Teddy Bears' Picnic in Yatton Park before leaving for Rotorua.

McLaughlin was there with her daughters Kaly, 4, and Ayla, who was diagnosed with type one diabetes only 12 weeks ago.

McLaughlin said "pretty terrifying" was the "only way to describe how we felt and injecting Ayla every day has now become a normal but scary part of our world".

McLaughlin said events like the Teddy Bears' Picnic were great fun for her children but also showed Alya she was "not the odd man out" when it came to this condition.

Diabetes Help Tauranga had been "incredibly supportive" during those first scary days.

Today the Diabetes Help Team will feature on Maorivation, on Moana Radio with live challenges on air to get people thinking about their risk of diabetes.