Families rise to the challenge to help cure Type 1 diabetes

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The families and friends of two amazingly brave young girls are taking part in the One Walk at Strathclyde Park to raise money and awarness of Type 1 dibetes.

The walk on September 11 will help the research charity JDRF.

The Turner family from Wishaw and the McConvilles of East Kilbride had their lives turned upside down when daughters Kirsten and Lily, both aged nine, were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Both girls live with the daily routine of finger pricks and carb counting essential to stabilise their blood sugar levels.

Kirsten, who was diagnosed in January this year, has to monitor her blood every four hours, day and night, while Lily, who was diagnosed at the age of five, relies on an insulin pump to manage her condition.

Lily’s mum, Emma McConville said: “Type 1 is relentless. Every aspect of Lily’s life is affected. We all look out for her. Type 1 is a 24 hour a day condition and you don’t get a day off. Even her little sister Holly, who is five, knows what to do if Lily has a ‘hypo’. Finding a cure would be amazing. This is our fourth year on the One Walk because it is so important not just to raise funds, but also to raise awareness.

“In Lily’s case, we saw her losing weight, the constant thirst and constant need to go to the toilet. We thought it was a urinary infection, but with the diagnosis of type 1 the penny dropped. We were lucky to catch it when we did.”

Kirsten’s mum, Karen, added: “We are very positive people, but it hasn’t been easy and there have been times when I have wanted to scream and cry. Many people think type 1 is common and therefore manageable, but I’d swap one of their days for one of mine, any day! For all that though, Kirsten is fantastic. She doesn’t shy away from it all. She will do her injections openly and talks about it with her friends at school.

“Finding a cure for Kirsten is incredibly important. Through research there has been such a massive improvement in the technology available to people living with type 1, we really hope that by the time she is an adult the same advances have been made and that there will be no need for injections and pumps.”

Both families are prolific fundraisers for JDRF. Karen hosted a Fitness Festival at the end of last month and this is the fourth year the McConville’s have taken part in the One Walk.

Sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends have all be enlisted to take part in this year’s 5km walk, the type 1 diabetes research charity’s big fundraiser, which comes to Strathclyde Country Park for the first time.

It is an event that is hugely important to both families as it shows their girls that they are not alone. Not only are there other children and adults going through the same challenges as them, but there are also many people who care enough to raise money to help find the cure to their condition.

Type 1 diabetes effects 29,000 adults and children in Scotland, including 6,404 adults and children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.