SHE might only be six years old but little Amalia Holman has already begun a political career.
Amalia, who lives in Linlithgow and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, has lobbied MSPs at the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the condition.
She was joined by her mum, Triinu, and medical research charity Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and even made her own business cards for the occasion - with key messages about type 1 diabetes and her appeal for more funding - which she handed out to a number of MSPs. The St Joseph's Primary pupil's diagnosis in January 2009 came shortly after Mrs Holman and her husband Dave, 36, noticed an increase in the amount of water she was drinking.
Mrs Holman, 41, said: "She was suddenly really thirsty and became obsessed with drinking. I was really concerned so I made a doctor's appointment. That night she was in the bath, and she was drinking the bath water."
A simple urine test found that Amalia had type 1 diabetes. She was taken to St John's Hospital in Livingston before being transferred to Edinburgh's Sick Kids hospital by ambulance.
"When I found out Amalia had type 1 diabetes, it didn't make sense. I was in complete shock," Mrs Holman said.
Amalia's diagnosis means she now needs multiple daily insulin injections. Mrs Holman, a stay-at-home mum, said: "For her first injections in the hospital, she had to be pinned down. She was screaming and kicking - it was a horrible time."
Amalia started using an insulin pump last August, which operates via remote control and administers insulin through a needle into her side.
However, only two per cent of people in Scotland have access to an insulin pump, compared with 45 per cent in America.
Amalia, who has two siblings, neither of whom are diabetic, has also been using a Continous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) since Easter, which monitors her blood glucose level and sounds an alarm if it becomes too high or too low. However, like the pump the CGMS is not available to all patients in Scotland.Mr and Mrs Holman, who are not diabetic, decided to self-fund Amalia's CGMS at a cost of just over 1000 for the machine itself as it was not available through NHS Lothian.
Mrs Holman, a mother-of-three, said the pump and CGMS had helped Amalia to lead a normal life.
Amalia, who celebrated her sixth birthday on Monday, was invited to meet MSPs at Holyrood last month by the charity JDRF.
Mrs Holman said: "Amalia understands her condition and, despite her young age, is very passionate about helping other young people with it."
"However, a hurdle we face is educating decision-makers about type 1 diabetes so they are better informed when allocating funding."
Development manager for JDRF, Alastair Brookes, added: "It's always a struggle to have a loud voice in a sea of varying priorities but this is a very positive step forward."