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Cerys-Anne, nine, from Trowbridge, helps fellow young sufferers
A nine-year-old Trowbridge girl has created an online forum to help children with diabetes – just 12 weeks after being diagnosed herself.
Cerys-Anne Blake, a pupil at Bellefield Primary School, was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in January, after being poorly with a chest infection for three weeks and losing weight.
She now has to inject herself with insulin four times a day to control her blood sugar levels, and do up to eight blood tests a day to check that the levels are not too high or too low.
Cerys-Anne’s mum Donna-Michelle Donkin, 34, who took her daughter to the doctor when she was ill, said: “We were sent to the RUH in Bath straight away. We spent the next week there and were given a crash course in managing the condition. The staff in both Bath and Trowbridge have been very supportive.
“We went through many emotions that week – shock, denial, anger, sadness, fear. Many of these feelings are still very real as we come to terms with all the changes.”
Cerys-Anne wanted to do something positive, so after her spell in hospital she held a charity tea party to raise funds for Diabetes UK, where she invited her school friends, teachers and headteacher, raising £260.
Enlisting the help of her stepdad Doug Harvey, 38, who is a technical sales manager, she created a website and forum that other children with diabetes can visit and use to chat with each other, and ultimately not feel so isolated.
Ms Donkin added: “Cerys-Anne is the only child at her school with diabetes so she felt very alone in her struggle to cope with it. She realised that she was probably not the only one that felt this way, and decided to create the website.
“So far it has reached out to quite a few children locally, but we are hoping that newly-diagnosed children across the country will be advised to join the website by their doctors and nurses. The latest member to join is from Saudi Arabia. It’s great to know that children from across the world are being helped as a result of Cerys-Anne’s condition.”
Deepa Khatri, Diabetes UK clinical advisor, said: “Cerys-Anne’s website is really impressive. To have an online forum where young people with the condition can share their experiences and support each other is also extremely valuable. Diabetes affects not just the individual but their family and friends, so it is important that they too have the opportunity to get involved through the website.
“It is a particularly useful resource for those who have been recently diagnosed and are learning how to cope managing their condition. We would encourage as many young people to sign up as possible as the more who join, the larger the support network will be.”
To visit Cerys-Anne’s website, go to www.theinsulingang.co.uk.
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