Mum hopes to shine spotlight on diabetes in young

Published on: 09 Nov 2013

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With no history of diabetes in her family, her daughter Sophie’s diagnosis with the Type 1 form of the condition at the age of just 14 months was a bolt out of the blue for Candy Gyde.

Now the Saltford mum-of-two is hoping to raise awareness – as well as money for a good cause – among other families in the area so they can be on the look out for the symptoms.

Along with another local mum who has a child with diabetes, Candy is organising a tea and cake morning in the village on November 9. It is the latest in a string of events she and her family have organised to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, raising more than £2,000 over the years.

The charity aims to help improve the lives of children like Sophie, who is now seven, and find a cure for Type 1 diabetes, a condition that means a sufferer does not produce enough insulin to control blood glucose and requires daily medication. Type 1 diabetes is much less common than Type 2 diabetes, the form that can affect people as they get older or if they are overweight and which can often be managed by diet and exercise alone.

When she fell ill as a baby Sophie’s worrying symptoms were initially put down to a virus when her mother sought help. But after her condition worsened she was rushed to Frenchay Hospital where she was finally diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and then transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital for two weeks where she spent several days in intensive care, something Candy believes she could have prevented had she had some vital information about the signs of the condition.

Candy, who is also mum to two-and-a-half-year-old Freddie and lives with her partner Steve Jenkins, said: “It was a really frightening time. Some of the symptoms she had, such as freezing cold hands and feet, were similar to meningitis, which as a parent you are told about and which was running through my mind. I didn’t have a clue about diabetes. There is a very simple test for the condition and it’s about getting the message out there to parents.”

Sophie now has a pump that ensures she has enough insulin and she tests her blood sugar regularly throughout the day, as well as watching what she eats – and she could still join in trick or treating with her friends for Halloween.

The tea and cake morning will be held on November 9 from 10am to 1pm at the Wansdyke Room, Saltford Hall, Wedmore Road. Admission is free and there will be stalls, face-painting, a lucky dip and the chance for children to have their pictures taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in exchange for a donation.

There is also a raffle, which has been supported by a range of local companies that have offered prizes, including vouchers from Saltford’s Flowers by Debs Design, Keynsham’s The Entertainer and Avon Valley Railway, a candy tree from Kia’s Candy Trees in Saltford, cakes from McMelia’s Magical Cakes and Jacky Taylor, a signed book from Brasserie Blanc in Bath, a training top from Bristol City Football Club and more.

Information on Type 1 diabetes in the young can be found on JDRF’s website at www.jdrf.org.uk, as well as links to other sites and details of how to donate to the cause.

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