A seven-year-old Lancaster girl is helping raise awareness of diabetes to support her young cousin who suffers from the condition.
Katie Walker took part in a 48 hour ‘sweet fast’ and gave a talk at her primary school.
Katie’s cousin Amber Clayton, also seven, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year and since then, Katie has pledged to help her as much as possible.
The pair are great friends and were born just eight days apart.
Amber’s mum Helen said: “Last year my daughter Amber was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which has had a huge impact on our lives.
“As the result of fighting off a virus, her immune system mistakenly attacked her pancreas and destroyed all the cells that make insulin.
“Without insulin Amber cannot process the sugar in her food and turn it into energy (which if not treated can be fatal.)
“The only way to enable her body to process the sugar/carbohydrate in foods is for my daughter to give herself a minimum of four insulin injections a day.
“In addition to this she has a very controlled diet and does up to 12 blood tests a day to ensure her blood sugar is not rising or falling to dangerous levels.
“This is pretty overwhelming for a seven-year-old to deal with but Katie has supported her every step of the way.
“When my daughter was first diagnosed and was very ill in hospital, Katie sent pictures and cards.
“Once Amber had come out of hospital and was adjusting to her new life as a type 1 diabetic we came to Lancaster to visit her grandma and cousins and when Amber was required to do a blood test, Katie let her do one on her too!
“When they play together and Amber’s blood sugars go too low, Katie will be the one who brings her to an adult to be treated and sits with her until she is feeling better and ready to go and play again.”
Amber recently took part in a sponsored ‘sweet fast’ in her home town of Middlewich, Cheshire, to raise money for Diabetes UK.
And Katie encouraged her own school, Bowerham Primary School, to also take part and help raise money and awareness of Type 1 diabetes.
Katie gave a presentation to her class, and also designed posters to go along with the talk.
“Katie and Amber are so close, they FaceTime on their iPods all the time and Katie’s support for Amber is truly fantastic,” Helen added.
“I know I’m biased but I think this is an amazing example of a child doing something out of the goodness of her own heart.”
Katie’s mum Emma said: “Katie and Amber are very close in age and are great friends.
“Since Amber’s diagnosis, Katie has showed a great deal of concern for Amber and also eagerness to both promote awareness of Diabetes and raise money for Diabetes UK at the same time.
“It has helped Katie to understand the condition.
“Katie was determined to take part in Amber’s sweet-fast and has gained the support of staff and friends at her primary school.
“She worked hard to create a poster which explained what diabetes is and how it has affected her cousin, and used it to do a presentation for her class, to get as many people involved as she could.
“Katie happily went without anything sweet for 48 hours and is most deserving of all the sponsor money that has been pledged.
“We are extremely proud of how hard she has worked to show support for both Amber and Diabetes UK.”