Auckland Airport is giving $120,000 to 12 charities as part of its annual 12 days of Christmas initiative. The Herald will profile each initiative.

For children living with type 1 diabetes from a young age, injecting themselves with insulin and batting off the misconception they have it due to eating too much sugar or not enough exercise can be a real struggle.

And for others - even much older people - knowing their risks of developing type 2 diabetes can also help them address their lifestyle habits so they don't get it later in life.

Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and is the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels in the normal range, while type 2 can be mostly prevented by having a healthy lifestyle.

Diabetes New Zealand's Auckland branch runs a number of programmes to raise awareness around diabetes.


These include educating people at shopping centres or events about diabetes and testing them to see if they are at risk, training community representatives about healthy eating so they can share that information with their peers, helping parents of children with type 1 diabetes and assisting peer support groups.

The Auckland branch's business development manager, Jo Chapman, said the organisation was always short of funding and the $10,000 grant from Auckland Airport would be use across its four educational programmes, which were all in need of a boost.

Chapman said the funding would give the organisation more flexibility and enable it to expand its services including running more events for parents of type 1 diabetes and their children.

"Talking them through the pitfalls and scariness of injecting insulin and help manage their diabetes so they can live a better and healthy active life and not be afraid of it. We get little ones as young as a few months old so it can be quite frightening and scary.

"That's the one [type 1 diabetes] unfortunately that gets misrepresented and they are always fighting the battle. Hey we didn't get it because we weren't having a healthy diet or active life."

Auckland Airport general manager of people and safety Anna Cassels-Brown said Diabetes New Zealand was chosen because of the work it did to educate people about diabetes which was such a major issue for New Zealanders. It also affected a number of people living in communities around the airport.