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Dilys Shepherd, Type 1 Events Volunteer

I am a proud mum of two daughters. Two daughters with Type 1 diabetes.  

One night our younger daughter started drinking from a tap to quench her never-ending thirst. We were devastated when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

My daughter was very unhappy at this change in her lifestyle. She would refuse the food which had been carefully calculated to match the insulin we had injected and had to be persuaded to eat something (anything!) before she went hypo. We watched her anxiously as she changed from a happy little soul into the complete opposite.

Dilys Shepherd

Despite the difficulties we all faced I was determined to ensure that life would carry on and make sure our T1 daughter was a child first, and a ‘child with diabetes’ second.

I soon found that everyone, from the caring staff at our GPs surgery to friends and relatives, knew nothing about diabetes and the huge changes it was making to all our lives. There was nobody I could talk to until my Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse gave me a leaflet about Diabetes UK.

After a few months I booked us all in to a Diabetes UK Family Weekend. It was life changing. A weight was lifted from our shoulders. We could talk to medical experts, we could talk with the volunteer staff that had grown up with Type 1 and who were living life to the full and we could, at last, meet other parents who were also going through the same thing.

Our children played happily with the other children at the event (including siblings), whilst subliminally learning about diabetes from their own experts – large and small.

Child at a Type 1 Event

Now my daughters and I volunteer at these amazing events and see how the magic works for newly diagnosed families, for it is the family that is diagnosed. The events are run by volunteers: mums, like myself, Type 1s and, essential to the process, healthcare professionals (HCPs).

They need doctors, nurses and dietitians to ensure the safety of the children and in return these wonderful HCPs gain knowledge, experience, and friends for life.

If you are up for a challenge, please consider joining the volunteers at one of the weekend events, or the week long children’s holidays. You will never regret it!

Find out more about volunteering at our Type 1 Events.

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