Andy Dodds and Fen Littleboy, 24th May 2018

Andy Dodds and Fen Littleboy, 24th May 2018

 

Our Group welcomed Andy Dodds, Chair and Fen Littleboy (to the right in photo), Vice-chair from The Norwich and District Diabetes Youth Group. They are a voluntary group of parents and friends who offer support for families, raise funds for local hospitals and organise fun activities for children with diabetes and their families. They have a membership of approximately 250 children with Type 1 diabetes.

Andy and Fen started the meeting by giving us some of their personal experiences of caring for a young child with Type 1 as they both have children who were diagnosed as Type 1 when they were babies.

Both children are now managing their diabetes well and Andy’s son – a keen footballer has been part of the Norwich City Player Youth Development Centre for a number of years – regularly playing for and representing Norwich City and also with Blofield Utd U16 Youth Team. Soon after diagnosis he was put on an insulin pump to help him manage his condition and was one of the youngest children to use this system.

Norfolk as a county has one the highest pecentages of children with Type 1 diabetes in the UK compared to other countys’ and the group is seeing an increasing number of very young children being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

The group has 8 committee members who together with family, friends and medical staff from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital arrange sporty events and fun days out for the children. At these events they meet other children like themselves and are able learn more about and how to deal with their condition. They aim to have an event every month and these include an adventure weekend at Hilltop Sheringham, Dinosaur Park at Lenwade, Snetterton Truck Racing, Bowling, Pizza making and Rock Climbing to name but a few. Their annual Christmas Party is very well supported with a visit from a very important person (Santa). Their events are geared to 3 different age ranges to cater for young children, older children and those in between.

The aims of the Youth Group are to provide a fun and supportive framework to their members and their parents up to the age of 18. These are as follows.

They support Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS trust with donations to F.R.E.D. (Funds for the Research and Education into Diabetes), which helps improve local children's diabetes care and their long term health prospects.

They supply specialist books to newly diagnosed patients and their families which provide essential information and advice to help in the early days and also 'Carbs & Cals' books.

They donate WH Smith voucher rewards to the Jenny Lind Care Team which are given to children and young people with improved HBAC1 levels.

They organise subsidised fun events and activities for the children and their families to give them a chance to network, creating more understanding through the sharing of information, and offer support to newly diagnosed families, which helps them to come to terms with diabetes.

They donate funds each year to a research project funded by Diabetes UK, specifically aimed at improving the lives of children and young people with diabetes. An example of a recent donation was to help fund research into the effects of how young people can improve the care they receive whilst at university, as this is usually the first time young people are away from home and family since being diagnosed with diabetes.

All these events are funded through donations and we are pleased to say that our group (North Norfolk Diabetes UK Group) makes an annual donation to them. Andy rounded of their talk by presenting us with a certificate in recognition of our support.