Having diabetes won’t stop us enjoying life

Posted on March 17, 2007

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THERE is a common myth that people with diabetes can’t take part in sport. Well, try telling that to the 30 intrepid youngsters who tried their hand at everything from abseiling to basketball at the weekend.

The children, aged eight to 13, were on an activity weekend specially for youngsters with Type 1 diabetes, the aim of which was to improve their confidence, help them make new friends, learn how to manage their own diabetic care – and, most importantly, have fun.

And that was certainly achieved.

Twelve-year-old Sam Rogers, from Malvern, said: “It was brilliant. We did abseiling, climbing and an assault course.”

The Chase High School pupil, who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of five, said living with the insulin-controlled condition was “a pain”, but the activity weekend was a welcome opportunity to spend time with others who also have to cope with it.

Sam has to inject himself four times a day to keep his insulin levels up – but that still doesn’t always help. On Friday, just before going away, he suffered a seizure at school. His mum Stephanie said: “He’s had to inject himself since he was five so he’s got used to it, although it was awful at first as he was scared of needles.

“But on Friday, despite taking his medication, he suffered a seizure which knocked him about in quite a bad way. He’d been so involved in an activity at school that he didn’t realise how low his levels had gone. Usually he knows as he goes shaky, so he’ll have a chocolate bar and some juice, but he just didn’t notice.”

However, Sam was still well enough to go on the trip and had a brilliant time.

“There’s not that many children with diabetes so it’s great that he gets time with others and realises he’s not on his own.”

Ten-year-old Megan Oliver has been full of tales about the other girls she met on the trip, abseiling and even how she got to grips with a python.

Megan, from Charlton, near Pershore, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of four and it came as a huge shock to her mum Louise.

With no history of the condition in the family, and the doctors unable to give a concrete reason as to why Megan had developed it, it was hard to come to terms with.

Immediately, little Megan was thrown into a daunting regime which involved her having to inject herself with insulin twice a day, and take regular blood samples to check her blood sugar levels.

What was also hard to deal with was that when Megan started school, there was no one else with the condition that she could talk to.

But then Louise found out about the activity weekend and Megan has attended for the past three years.

The weekend, held at the Pioneer Centre, Cleobury Mortimer, is organised by the county’s paediatric diabetes nurses and allows the youngsters to let off steam while taking part in a range of activities.

“It’s been really good for her,” Louise said. “She has told me all about the activities, which were really varied.

“She also enjoyed meeting the other children with diabetes as there is no one else at her school with the condition.”

Paediatric diabetes nurse Esther Harrison said: “Weekends or holidays of this nature are known to provide an excellent learning environment about diabetes for children and staff, also improving the self-esteem of the youngsters.

“For children living with Type 1 diabetes it can be hard coming to terms with the fact that they have to inject themselves two to four times a day for the rest of their lives.

“This weekend gives them the opportunity to meet others with their condition.

“As well as the fun bit, they all do their injections together and they can explore different sites for injections. It all helps to normalise it a bit more and we want them to gain confidence in managing their own diabetes care.”

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