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Elaine's Story: My daughter's diagnosis with type 1 diabetes

Elaine and colleagues holding Diabetes UK running shirt

On World Diabetes Day, nearly 4 years ago, Elaine Kane from Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, received an email that she credits to saving her daughter’s life. Containing information about the importance of looking out for the 4Ts, the email led to Elaine’s nine-year-old daughter being diagnosed later that same day. In a bid to raise awareness and support Diabetes UK, Elaine is joining a relay team for the upcoming Belfast City Marathon. Recently Elaine shared a little more of her experience with us:


It’s nearly four years since I received the email containing information about the 4Ts – Toilet, Thinner, Tired, and Thirsty. Knowing about these symptoms is what led to my daughter Sophie receiving a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes later that very same day.

No one in our family has this condition and her diagnosis really was life-changing and a shock for us all. Sophie seemed like a normal healthy girl. However, when reading about the 4Ts I realised she was in fact displaying signs, so we took her to the doctor for a finger prick blood test. In no way did I think she would actually have diabetes but as a mum, I just felt like I wanted it investigated to put my mind at ease.

With the help and care of the nurses and staff at Antrim Area Hospital, Sophie received the treatment she required and continues to do so.

The power of support

I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received from family, friends, and Diabetes UK. We’re incredibly lucky to have an amazing diabetes team around us and the support we received from family and friends was fantastic.

I asked my colleagues if we could support Diabetes UK through sponsorship for our relays because we as a family have recently worked with some of the charity’s team – through a family weekender and CHOICE programme. Here we saw first-hand how much work, support and care you offer for people living with diabetes. Very soon I will be joined by Alison, Aileen, Rachel, and Ciara, all who have been with me during Sophie’s journey, in a relay team for the 2024 Belfast City Marathon.

Diabetes UK is an amazing charity that not only campaigns and raises funds for research but also brings together the families of those living with diabetes through various fun events and community groups. Meeting others with the condition and the amazing volunteers who attend has helped us realise that we are not alone, and that Sophie can live a long, full and active life.

Growing awareness

I think the public’s awareness of the 4Ts is paramount, as sometimes it can be very easy to miss these symptoms. I think something that also isn’t really widely understood is that there are many cases of people diagnosed who do not have a family history of type 1 diabetes and it’s always important to keep an eye on the symptoms.

There is certainly a lot that comes with a diabetes diagnosis and sometimes that can be underestimated. For ourselves, despite the normal hypos and hypers that come hand in hand with life with diabetes, we haven’t experienced any really scary health moments which we are very thankful for.


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