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Diabetes UK volunteer receives award from the Prime Minister

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A Diabetes UK volunteer who has helped hundreds of parents struggling to come to terms with their child’s diabetes has received a volunteering award from the Prime Minister David Cameron.Kathryn Cooney, from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, has been awarded a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding and inspiring individuals who make a positive difference to their community.Kathryn began volunteering for Diabetes UK as a Service Champion after her daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008. Since then Kathryn has been instrumental in setting up a new Facebook support group for parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, which helps them to come to terms with their child’s diagnosis.  She also plays an active role in local diabetes user panels and organises family away days for parents and children affected by the condition.Kathryn has also been involved in a successful campaign to reduce waiting times in some Health Trusts in Northern Ireland for children needing insulin pumps to fewer than 6 months. Kathryn was also recently awarded a Diabetes UK Inspire Award in recognition of her voluntary work and tireless campaigning to improve the lives of children with diabetes.“Kathryn is a real inspiration”“Kathryn is a real inspiration”Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Having a child diagnosed with Diabetes can be heart-breaking. Parents naturally have lots of questions and can feel uncertain and alone. Kathryn has been instrumental in working with parents online and in person to show them that it is possible to live well with diabetes. She is an amazing pillar of the community and a real inspiration. I am pleased to give this UK Point of Light to Kathryn in recognition of her remarkable achievements.”Kathryn is the eighty-seventh winner of the new Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.“I am thrilled to have received the Point of Light award”“I am thrilled to have received the Point of Light award”On receiving the award, Kathryn said: “I am thrilled to have received the Point of Light award for doing something I feel so passionately about. I think it is so important that families get together to share experiences of living with Type 1 diabetes helping parents, children with Type 1 and their siblings feel supported.”Lynette Irvine, a mother of a Type 1 child, who has been helped by Kathryn through Diabetes UK said: “I’m so glad Kathryn is receiving this award. When my son went on a long waiting list for an insulin pump she gave me the criteria that Trust’s use and the names of people to contact straight away. Curtis got the pump within 6 months and it changed our lives. This lady is both tireless and relentless when it comes to helping others with diabetes. I really don’t know were she gets the time and the energy yet she asks for nothing in return.”

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