At RockTape we encourage lateral thinking. And this kind of thinking led a Perth lady, Megan Wassink, to develop a cool new business helping kids keep their diabetic monitors in place. Megan discovered that RockTape has the best adhesive of the kinesiology tapes and it was perfect for keeping her daughter’s diabetic monitor and pump in place. “RockaDex” was born! RockaDex uses RockTape to create cool designs for kids that make their medical devices look a little less “medical”. An awesome idea and she has changed the lives of many diabetic kids. The profits of her company go to support her daughter’s medical expenses, and to support other diabetes organisations.
Your daughter has Type 1 diabetes which is a genetic condition where the body can no longer produce its own insulin – instead insulin must be injected several times a day. That must have been a challenging diagnosis. How did you mentally and emotionally deal with that?
When Hayley was diagnosed I knew nothing about Type 1, I didn’t even realise there were different types of diabetes. Hayley was so sick before being diagnosed, we continued to take her to the doctors knowing that there was something wrong with our little girl. It was just before her second birthday and she had lost so much weight, had extreme thirst and was constantly wetting through her nappies! The doctors didn’t pick up on the signs that we now know are typical signs of Type 1. I knew something was seriously wrong. At the time we were over 3 hours away from Princess Margaret Hospital, I put Hayley in the car and drove her there. Upon arriving at the hospital she was barely conscious and struggling to breathe. Hayley was put straight into ICU and we are very lucky to still have her here today! Emotionally having a child with Type 1 is exhausting, but every day I am just grateful to still have my gorgeous daughter.
What changes to your lifestyle have you had to make as a result of diabetes?
We try to keep things as normal as possible, there is a lot of pre-thought that needs to go into managing diabetes. We have moved closer to a larger hospital while still managing to stay rural. We have learnt a lot about food and its different impacts on blood sugars. I have also learnt how to function on less sleep! Working as Hayley’s pancreas means I need to get up a few times a night to check if she is still ok.
What advice would you give to people who are also dealing with diabetes – either in themselves or their children?
Every day is a new day, diabetes is unpredictable. You can do the same routine day in and out and it doesn’t mean your blood sugars are going to stay the same. For the parents especially those with newly diagnosed children, it will get easier I promise!
Can you explain the product you’ve created using RockTape? For a diabetic what problem does it help you solve?
Hayley has 2 medical devices that are attached 24/7, one of those is an insulin pump. Prior to getting the pump she had to have a minimum 6 needles a day! The pump has allowed us to change that to once every 3 days. The other device is called a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) it takes a reading of the interstitial fluid every 5 minutes and sends it to a receiver so that we can see Hayley’s blood sugar constantly without having to prick her fingers as much. The CGM also alarms if her bloods are falling dangerously low or high.
This device is an absolute life saver but unfortunately its adhesive does not stick to the skin very well. We designed a patch from RockTape that goes over this device and holds it stuck firm. We tried other tapes prior to discovering RockTape and none of them held up anywhere near as well. We have now gone on to design lots of different shapes to try and make it a little less medical looking and more exciting to decorate the device for both kids and adults alike.
How has your experience been in your own home using the product with your daughter?
We absolutely love RockTape, in fact the business is named after it! The device is called a Dexcom that we originally started using the tape for hence the name Rock a Dex. It comes in handy for so much more than just using it on Hayley’s devices.
And why RockTape over other alternatives?
It really is the world’s best kinesiology tape. It’s great that its hypoallergenic and latex oxide free as so many of the cheaper options have latex in them which cause people to break out in a rash. The 180% stretch makes it super comfortable for 24/7 use. Plus RockTape has amazing colours and patterns.
What inspired you firstly to come up with the idea, and then later to expand it into a business?
We were having issues keeping Hayley’s Dexcom on, and being that they cost over $90 a sensor for 7 days use, you really don’t want it to fall off prematurely! We also discovered that we could ‘extend’ the life of the sensor if we could get it to stay stuck. We now get around 3 weeks per sensor saving over $180 just because of a piece of tape! Other friends with diabetic children saw what we were doing and asked me to make the patches for their children or themselves. And the business just evolved from there.
You’re obviously an inspiration for the diabetes community. Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship? What have you learnt from them that has helped you on your journey?
There is a fantastic lady called Bec Johnson, she started a centre in Perth called the Telethon Type 1 family centre. Bec is a Type 1 Diabetic herself. The day I met Bec she welcomed us with open arms and encouraged me with the business. As a parent you always worry about your children growing up, but having a child with diabetes adds a whole new level of worry to that. Bec immediately gave me reassurance that it was going to be ok, seeing an adult like Bec living with it and rocking it on a daily basis made me realise that Hayley will be alright.
What advice will you impart to your own daughter as she grows up that you’ve learnt from developing your business?
You can do anything you put your mind to, work hard and believe in yourself and anything is possible!
We normally ask our RockStar’s what their favourite colour of RockTape is. However, since your business was inspired by your daughter, perhaps you can share what her favourite colour is and why?
Hayley loves them all! The rainbow pattern in the 2” is definitely a favourite though.
What’s next? Are you planning any exciting new ideas?
We have released lots of new products in the last 12 months, including a new active wear range and a Medichiller cooling case for people to safely carry their insulin. So we are just working on getting those products out there for now.
Any special requests for RockTape to produce a new colour or design?
Yes, we want all those awesome 2” patterns made in the 4” wide tape!
Where can people find you on the web, or follow your journey?
Facebook: RockaDex – Diabetes supplies