Diabetic girl's thanks to fundraisersBy Julie Spencer
November 28, 2012
When Becky Conroy saw how many people had donated money to her online giving page she told her mother ‘I want to kiss them all’.
The seven-year-old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March – a complication of norovirus, the sickness and diarrhoea bug that erupts in many schools every winter.
But while most children shake off the bug after a couple of days, Becky will have to cope with diabetes for the rest of her life, or until a cure is found.
Routine at home in Jennett’s Park, for Becky, her parents Jan and Richard and 10-year-old brother Benjamin is a relentless round of injections and blood tests using 56 needles a week and strictly measured meals every two to three hours.
Without medicine she would die within three months. If her blood sugars are too low she can go into a diabetic coma, too high and acid in her blood could damage her body, with complications including amputation, kidney failure and blindness.
The bewildering and frightening reality of their new life has been made easier by the support of family and friends who donated when Jan launched a Just Giving page on November 14, World Diabetes Day, to raise cash for the Juvenile Research Diabetes Foundation.
Jan said: “This is the first time we have done anything like this and it has been wonderful, it has been so positive.”
The Foundation funds research to prevent, treat and cure Type 1 Diabetes.
Jan knew type 2 diabetes affected obese children but she knew nothing about type 1 and how it can be triggered by childhood illnesses including chicken pox, bronchiolitis and norovirus.
Jan knew ‘something was not right’ after her daughter’s stomach bug in February.
She said: “Call it a mother’s instinct but she just didn’t bounce back, she was very thirsty and was getting up in the night to go to the toilet. She was a grey colour but the final straw came when we went to a concert at The 02 arena and Becky drank all seven of our little water bottles in four hours.”
After three telephone calls over several days and only after threatening to go straight to hospital was Becky seen.
Jan says: “Her doctor did a simple wee test and then all hell broke loose. Becky’s sugar level was 28.9, normal sugars should be between four and seven. We had to go straight to hospital.”
Nine months on, Becky, a pupil at Wokingham’s St Sebastian CE Primary School, has learnt how to test her blood and inject herself with insulin four times a day, how to tell if she is going ‘hypo’ and how to say ‘no thanks’ when her friends are handing round the Haribos.
Jan says she is incredibly proud of Becky who has carried on singing, dancing, acting and Brownies ‘without fuss or drama’.
Jan says: “She occasionally says ‘It’s sad that I caught diabetes’ and my heart breaks, but I have to tell her she is lucky that she has medicine that keeps her well and that she is so good at taking care of herself.”
Jan says setting up the web page has been like ‘getting a bit of real life back’.
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Janet-Conroy.