Pop star Amelia Lily has given her backing to a new law that could transform the lives of children with Type 1 diabetes and their families.
Starting with the new school year, all schools in England now have a legal duty to support children with long-term health conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy.
Diabetes UK campaigned for this because, while some schools already do an excellent job of supporting children with Type 1 diabetes, there were too many examples of where children with diabetes were struggling to get the support they need to fully participate in school life.
Lily, 20, who shot to fame in the X-Factor and has a new single, California, out next week, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was three-and-a-half and has welcomed the new law because she knows what it is like to struggle to get the care you need to manage your diabetes at school.
"It's important for schools to know how to support kids with Type 1 diabetes."
She said: “I really think it’s important for schools to know how to support kids with Type 1 diabetes so that they can have a full and active school life. While at school, there were occasions where I was left alone to treat low blood glucose levels or I was excluded from school life, which made me feel isolated and scared.
“On one occasion, I had a very severe hypo during the school lunch break and wasn’t able to think clearly or understand what was going on around me. Luckily my quick thinking cousin who attended the same school recognised the symptoms and called for medical assistance but my teachers didn’t seem to know what to do.
“Thankfully an ambulance was eventually called and I was taken to hospital for treatment. But I was left feeling very frightened by the experience.
"It's good news that there is now a new law that means schools will have the right information."
“I really wouldn’t want another child to have a similar experience but sadly such experiences are very common with children with Type 1 diabetes. This is why it is really good news that there is now a new law that means schools will have the right information to support young people with diabetes so that they can feel confident about managing their condition and feel safe that they are being carefully looked after.”
Amelia is also supporting Diabetes UK’s Type 1 diabetes:Make the grade campaignto improve support in schools for children with diabetes. As part of the campaign the charity has created free resources for schools and parents to help children with diabetes get the care they need in school.
Robin Hewings, Head of Policy for Diabetes UK, said: “It is great to have Amelia Lily on board on what is a really important issue. Amelia’s support will be a huge welcome to the thousands of children with Type 1 diabetes and their parents who have had to constantly battle to get the care they need at school.
“She’s a real inspiration to children living with Type 1 diabetes as she shows that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you want to do and you can still get out there and follow your dreams. The Government’s new legal duty on schools will now help other young people with diabetes to do the same.