A FAMILY in which three of the four children have type one diabetes has inspired a school to hold a day of fundraising.
Debbie White hopes her children’s experience will raise awareness of the condition, which is on the increase in the UK.
More than 29,000 children in Britain have type one diabetes and cases are rising by four per cent a year – with under-fives increasingly affected.
Although genes are thought to play a part, it is rare for three siblings to be diagnosed.
Debbie wants people to be more aware of the condition – and for parents to watch for the symptoms.
“It’s more common now than meningitis but people don’t know the symptoms,” she said.
Debbie’s eldest son Dylan, 14, was six when he was diagnosed. Oliver, eight, and Corbin, six, were both diagnosed at age four. Daughter Emily, aged two, is so far unaffected.
The causes of type one diabetes are not properly understood, although it is thought it may be triggered by a virus.
Debbie said it was often confused with type two diabetes, which is normally connected to lifestyle.
“They’re trying to get a new name for it,” she said.
“It’s the body attacking the pancreas, whereas type two is usually due to lifestyle.”
People with type one diabetes normally inject themselves with insulin several times a day. Debbie’s sons have moved on to pumps which constantly regulate their insulin, but she has to get up at 2am daily to make sure the canulas are in place.
“Although the technology is amazing, it puts a lot of pressure on the parents,” she said.
Hillview Primary School – where Oliver and Corbin are pupils – is to hold a fundraiser on National Diabetes Day, November 14, with children coming to school in blue and giving a donation.
Proceeds will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Debbie, a former nurse, said having a third child diagnosed had been traumatic. “I was in denial about it for a long time.
“I thought I’d never cope but I did,” she said.
The most easily recognised symptoms of type one diabetes are: increased urination; thirst; tiredness; and weight loss.
Stars with the illness include:
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry
Ex-rower and five times Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave
Ex-Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer Gary Mabbutt
Oscar-nominated film star Sharon Stone.