Diabetes diagnosis inspires Kessingland schoolgirl’s charity drive

Phoebe Ellis (left) and her sister Ruby (right) with boxes of their old books and toys they hope to

Phoebe Ellis (left) and her sister Ruby (right) with boxes of their old books and toys they hope to sell at local car boot sales to raise money for Diabetes UK.Phoebe was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago,Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

When Phoebe Ellis was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at eight years old she was determined not to let it beat her.

The Kessingland Primary School pupil bravely took responsibility for injecting her own insulin and set about raising money for research in to the condition.

Phoebe, now 10, held her latest fundraising drive during national Diabetes Week in June, when she raised more than £1,000 for Diabetes UK.

She completed a number of challenges including a sponsored walk from Kessingland to Pakefield with her mother Stephanie Durrant, nine-year-old sister Ruby Ellis, and 20 other supporters.

Phoebe also took part in a sponsored swim with Ruby and fellow members of Lowestoft Oulton Broad Swimming Club at Warren Road pool in Lowestoft and the family held three car boot sales in aid of the charity.

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Students at the June Glennie School of Dance in Beccles, where Phoebe attends, also supported the cause by making a donation to Diabetes UK when they wore something blue to dance in.

It is the second time Phoebe has raised funds for Diabetes UK and her mother said they hoped to make it in to an annual event.

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She said: 'Phoebe wanted to give a bit back to help in the search for a cure.

'I just feel so proud of her and it does her morale some good.

'We hope that the money can be of some use in their research and, you never know, maybe it will be just enough for them to find something interesting.'

Phoebe was diagnosed with the condition in November 2010.

Ms Durrant said she had noticed her daughter was producing a lot more urine than normal. She consulted a friend with a diabetic son for advice and

Phoebe was admitted to hospital for tests.

Ms Durrant said there had been other symptoms too but because she did not know about the condition she had not been able to link them together,

She said she wanted to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes so people would know what to look out for.

'Phoebe went a bit too long unnoticed but I just didn't know anything about it to make the connection,' she said. 'Phoebe was sleepwalking and she was drinking a lot but she had always drunk a lot. She then started weeing large amounts and lost a lot of weight quickly.

'I think I only realised because of the toilet thing. Someone told me that when their husband got Type 2 diabetes he had the same symptom.

'I think now she was sleepwalking because she was out of her head on sugar. Her eyes were glazed.'

Phoebe now injects herself with insulin four times a day before meals and at bedtime. Together with her mother, she must calculate the amount of carbohydrates in every meal to work out the correct insulin dose. Sweets have to be included in the meal and Phoebe is unable to eat snacks during the day unless she has another insulin injection first.

Phoebe also suffers from Coeliac disease, which means she can not eat anything containing gluten.

Ms Durrant added: 'She has lost her freedom. She can still have different foods but it all has to be planned.

'She has been on school trips and although it hasn't been perfect she has been fine. I would like to think she can still do everything everybody else can do.'

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