By Ursula Duddy
A Derry mother who helped form a group for children with diabetes is fundraising to give the children a special break away as the charity they relied on has suspended summer camps and family breaks.
Edelle Irwin’s 11-year-old son, Shane, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes when he was just seven. Edelle then, with a group of other parents whose children have Type One Diabetes, helped set up the T1 Club.
“Originally a few of us got parents got together as we wanted our kids meet up and build friendships late last year and now we have grown into the T1 Club,” she said.
“We have families meeting from Derry, and travelling from the Strabane, Limavady and Antrim areas.
“We meet once a month in Brunswick Moviebowl for our social group, and its growing bigger each time.
“These kids have so much to deal with in their lives that if we can help make things easier by creating a community and friend circle for them then we will.”
Edelle said that, the fact that the children do have so much to deal with living with the condition, it is so important to give the children some respite and fun.
“My own son is 11, and was diagnosed at 7, he has felt very alone with his diagnosis and diabetes is hard to manage when you are a typical sporty boy,” she said.
“But he now has friends who are checking blood sugars and understand life with Type One - he has a ‘Dia-bestie’ now called Aidan!
“At the beginning my family reached out for support through Diabetes UK, and attended their summer-camps the past two years, which were totally invaluable in showing Shane he wasn’t alone, and there were all these other people with Type One.
“But these, along with the Family-Breaks that Diabetes UK ran have been suspended since last year. We found out via an online forum at the beginning of the year. We have been told via a rep that they will be back next year after a review but haven’t had this confirmed by the charity.
“I know first-hand how much my child got from the interaction, and the break away and since there are now so many families who are coming to us for services I decided to see if we could facilitate a T1 Family-Camp, where families could come and do activities and get a bit of a holiday too...daily living with Type One can be challenging, to say the least.”
“We are the first children and young people’s group too in Northern Ireland and this will be the first family-led camp in Northern Ireland so families are interested,” she added.
“We have a fundraiser in Richmond Centre coming up next month and our Just-giving Page...so it’s all systems go!
“There are so little services for these children, our medical care is great but support services are lacking to say the least - until the T1 Club. It would just be great if we can make this happen and highlight T1 at the same time...and we will!”
You can donate to help The T1 Club kids get a break away by donating to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/t1clubchildrensdiabetesgroup.
If you would like to find out more about the group, find them on Facebook at ‘The T1 Club Children’s Diabetes Group’ by visiting www.facebook.com/TypeOneClub.
Pictured above: The kids of the T1 Club enjoying a fun day out at Brunswick MovieBowl.
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