William Grame is dominating diabetes
BY FIONA VAN DER PLAAT
WILLIAM Grame smiles
agreeably when his mother describes
him as lazy.
Partly because he’s a 13-yearold
boy and sleeping, PlayStation
and leaving stuff lying around
often come with the territory.
But also because he knows he is
putting his laziness to good use.
His mother, Liz Kobold-
Grame, concedes “inherent
laziness” could be at the heart of
William’s inventiveness. “It helps
him look for the most efficient
way to do things.”
That’s how the Year 7 student
at Canberra’s St Edmund’s College
came up with the idea that won
him Origin Energy’s littleBIGideas
competition in 2015 and set
him on the road to starting up his
Aware that the best inventions
solve a problem, William, who has
lived with type 1 diabetes for five
years, hit on the nuisance of the
continuous stream of discarded
blood glucose test strips known
as “diabetic confetti”.
His dad Peter, for one, was sick
of him leaving the strips around
the house and his mother says
they were ending up everywhere,
including in her handbag.
So William came up with the
concept for a test strip collection
and disposal unit. (He is still
working on a catchy name for it
after his initial idea – the Stripper
– caused all sorts of problems
with Google searches.)
Canberra entrepreneur Erica
Hediger, from The Creative Element,
helped William refine the
mechanical device, which fits in a
testing kit, and produce it using
Now he is the CEO of his own
company, Diabetes Domination
(“because I want to dominate
diabetes and not let it dominate
me”), and sells the device through
It has mainly attracted individual
customers from around
Australia and countries such as
the US. But a pharmaceutical
company has now put in an order
for 2000 units.
The invention has opened
opportunities for a teenager
who, like many others his age,
enjoys rugby, basketball, PE and
even maths, French and a bit of
science at school. It won him a
trip to NASA, which he took with
his parents and 15-year-old sister
Isabelle and describes as “the trip
of a lifetime”.
He met former space shuttle
Atlantis engineer Terry White,
lunched with retired astronaut
Bob Springer and visited launch
sites at Cape Canaveral.
He was also a keynote speaker
at DigiCon in Melbourne in July
and has inspired others to have a
go at inventing.
While his ambition to own a
Lamborghini in five years’ time is
“on track”, it has not stood in the
way of giving back. His mother
says he has raised funds for the
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
and supports other young
people with diabetes, notably
helping a young boy who was too
scared to do his blood checks by
doing it with him over Skype.
In the meantime, William is
working on his next invention.
He’s not giving anything away
other than the fact it is something
“everyone will be interested in”.
*November 14 is World Diabetes
Day, which raises awareness of
and funds for the disease.