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At age 9 our daughter Ella Marsden was diagnosed with Type one diabetes. A condition which is chronic and lifelong. Type one is an autoimmune illness and it differs greatly from the more commonly known Type two diabetes. Type One diabetes is caused by the body's own immune system destroying cells and the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin. There is nothing anyone can to do to prevent it and it has no links to lifestyle. For Ella to survive she requires insulin, that day 7 years ago she took her first insulin injection, that needle was the first of an approximate 3650 needles.. 3 years following diagnosis Ella now wears a permanently attached device which she controls to deliver her Insulin. There is no cure for Type one and even with the advances in technologies it is a constant battle of management. Life is an endless balancing act trying to avoid the life threatening situations of high and low blood glucose readings, both of which Ella experiences daily. Blood checks are needed around every 3-4 hours including through the night. To date Ella has had approximately twenty six thousand blood checks, this amount is more the population of the hometown where Ella lives. No technology or treatment can take away the fears of with living type one, Ella would tell you herself about the fear of going to bed as a type one diabetic, the wondering if your bloods will remain stable whilst sleeping and if you'll actually wake up in the morning. Type one diabetes is a serious illness which can have a number of health implications, including heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye retina damage and amputations. It can be fatal and if left untreated it would be fatal within a matter weeks or months.
"Mummy will I die?" is a heart-breaking question that no parent should ever have to hear. Days after diagnosis Ella came to me and asked that very question, that day I then made Ella a promise.
I promise we will research to find the best technologies, and fight to fund them. I promise we will work hard to raise awareness, and fight for a world with a better understanding for Type one. I promise we shall never stop looking for a cure.
There is one charity that can help me keep that promise - Juvenile Diabetes Research foundation (JDRF)
Our promises together so far...
JDRF is the only charity committed to Type one diabetes. They fund research to achieve life changing breakthroughs to treat type one and its complications. They are a worldwide charity working towards a cure.
Ella with strong passion for our shared promise has motivated family and friends to be involved with various different fundraising activities. Ella has organised groups to attend JDRF events. She manages many of her own fundraisers. Ella is a confident public speaker and hosts awareness speeches. In 2015 Ella organised a charity evening in a marquee with over 150 attendees. As a family we are also part of medical research trials and have held local patient information clinics from home. Ella is extremely proud to represent JDRF as an ambassador and in 2016 took part in a parliamentary reception at the Houses of Commons. This last year Ella's work was recognised when she won the title of ‘Yorkshire Teenage fundraiser' at the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards presented by BBCs Steph McGovern. This was awarded for her confidence to raise the profile of Type one and her dedication to a better awareness. It wasn't about how much money was raised, however there is no getting away from the fact that its the money invested that gives us the advance's in research.
If we take a minute to think that before the 1920s a Type one diagnosis has a prognosis of less than a year to live. It was in 1922 insulin was discovered by Dr. Banting and a medical student. The fist attempt of using insulin sadly failed but scientists researched further and not long following a successful second attempt then enabled children to survive. In that short space of time our Type one children can live long healthy lives with the continued research and breakthroughs we've had in medical science. Things are advancing fast we have glucose monitors that Bluetooth results to insulin pumps and there is now prototypes in action of the artificial pancreas.
Continuing with our promise....
The Promise Ball took place in Leeds on Saturday 18 November 2017.
JDRF was founded in 1970 by an American mother of a child with Type 1 Diabetes who held a charity evening to raise funds to help find a cure for her child. Fundraising events like this have continued around the World, with Scotland and London currently stage JDRF Balls in the UK and November 2017 we launched the first JDRF Ball in the North of England. Held in the landmark Queens Hotel in Leeds City Centre with an attendance of 450 guests. An incredible night that raised over £25,000.00 to support the work of JDRF.
The Promise Ball 2018 will take place Saturday 17th November 2018.
Please help us raise the funds for the only charity committed to fund research to cure, treat, and support those living with Type One Diabetes.
Love from Ella and family xxxx
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