A Type 1 diabetes diagnosis can be challenging for the whole family. That’s why having a support network who understand what you’re going through is a lifeline.
There are nine active Diabetes Scotland family groups. One of the newest groups to join is Forth Valley T1 Families. Launched in spring this year, the group has already hosted nine events from arts and crafts to trampolining. They have also organised meet ups for parents only and a teen event where they enjoyed a Segway Tour.
Chair, Julie Catlin, said: “When my son, Harris, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes it was a very lonely road and when I reached out for local support, there was none. Harris goes to school with 600 children but he had never spent any time with another child with Type 1 diabetes which made him feel a bit isolated.
“I read online about groups in other areas and how these really benefitted the children and I really wanted this for Harris and other children like him in the area. I spoke to our local paediatric team and they were very supportive. We started with a Facebook page which attracted a lot of families and then I contact Cheryl at Diabetes Scotland to help take the group to the next level.
In February this year Forth Valley T1 Families became an official Diabetes Scotland Family Group. Joining Julie are; Leanne Brown, Secretary; Jillian Muir, Treasurer; and committee members Scott Catlin, Scott Muit and Gayle Mellor.
Julie said: “The committee has all become really close friends in a short space of time. Our children have also become friends and we all support each other with the ups and downs of living with diabetes while aiming to support the rest of our Type 1 community. We all have different backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses but we are all enthusiastic and share the same goals and it works.
“The most positive thing about the group is the feedback we receive from parents and children about the positive impact of the group. No one judges anyone. We are all just Mums and Dads doing our best. The events are refreshing as no one has to explain themselves as we all just get it. It has been a lot of hard work but it’s so rewarding as we are helping our own children and at the same time helping others.”
In addition to the events for parents and children, the group recently hosted a fundraising night and raised an incredible £2,500.
Julie has a message to all parents of children who have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes: “It is overwhelming at the beginning, almost a grieving process for the life you expected for your child but I promise it does get easier. Your child is amazing, resilient and strong and they have got you and you have got this!”