A MUM-OF-TWO who was terrified to leave her house has conquered her fears – thanks to the bravery of her son's battle with an incurable illness.

For years Iris Board has suffered from agoraphobia – the fear of open or public places.

However when her youngest son Shane was hospitalised with Type 1 diabetes when he was 10, she faced her fears and rushed to be by his side.

Today 19 years later, inspired by her 29-year-old son’s positive attitude to his diabetes, Iris, 56, has confronted her own demons and raised £75,000 for charity.

Iris, who is now counting down for her 11th Pop4Diabetes ball to raise funds for Diabetes UK, said: “I have come a long way and become more confident about myself. Before I started helping people with diabetes I was agoraphobic. I was frightened to go out of the house.

“When Shane was diagnosed something changed. He was hospitalised and I knew I had to get to him. As a mother and son, you’d do anything for your child and I knew he needed me so I had to face my fears.

“Now I will do anything in the search for a cure. I would like to see the day when there is no more diabetes.”

Over the past 13 years Iris Board has thrown herself into helping people with diabetes, especially children, and to raising awareness of the condition. Besides setting up Pop4Diabetes, staging an annual ball and raising thousands of pounds for diabetes research, she started and ran a group for children with diabetes and has surprised scores of children over the years by making their wishes come true. These include arranging surprise meetings with pop stars and outings to attractions such as Madame Tussauds.

“People with diabetes deserve special things. Sometimes the ordeals some of these children have to go through have me in tears. It is a horrible condition.”

Type 1 diabetes cannot yet be prevented or cured. People with the condition need to take daily insulin either by injections or a pump to stay alive. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can often be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes – including maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.

Seeing how Shane has coped, has helped Iris confront her own demons and help get her own life back on track.

Though she still struggles with the condition and has to have her car parked nearby for an ‘escape route’ and her family close to her, she never imagined she would be organising balls and travelling to new places in her dream to find a cure for diabetes.

She said: “I will never be totally right. I do still struggle but I have been so inspired by how he has handled it. Shane did his own injections from day one. He is so brave that he has inspired me to be brave and my family are my biggest support.”

Iris won the People’s Hero award in last year’s Quality in Care Diabetes Awards, while Shane Board was honoured in the British Citizens Awards in 2015.

Annika Palmer, Diabetes UK south west regional head, said: “We share Iris Board’s dream for a cure for Type 1 diabetes and this is one of Diabetes UK’s aims in pledging £6.5 million a year to research. Iris’s achievements – in fundraising, helping people with diabetes and in dealing with her own personal issues – are amazing on so many levels. We are in total admiration of her and in gratitude at what she is doing for people living with diabetes.”

This year’s Pop4Diabetes ball, a glittering event which takes James Bond and the movies as its theme, will be at the Village Hotel, Bournemouth on October 14. For more information about the ball go to pop4diabetes.co.uk