Nine-year-old girl with diabetes wants to raise awareness

A nine-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and diabetes will walk 5km - the furthest she has ever attempted - to raise awareness of her conditions.

Paul, Joan, Iona, Grace and Eiligh Kane. Picture: contributed.

Eilidh Kane is about to make the walk of her life to help those who, like her and her four-year sister, Grace, have type 1 diabetes.

The 5km One Walk for JDRF, the type 1 diabetes research charity takes place on Sunday September 11 at the Strathclyde Country Park and it will the furthest Eilidh has ever attempted, because as well as living with the constant finger pricks and carb counting that goes with managing her type 1 diabetes, Eilidh has cerebral palsy which leaves the right side of her body weak.

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Dad, Paul, calls her “my trouper”.

The Kane family hope to raise awareness of diabetes.

He says: “Life can get tough for Eilidh but she battles through. To her twin sister, Iona, she is a hero. Four-year old Grace, who also has type 1, looks out for her. And for my wife Joan and me, she is the main reason why finding the cure to type 1 diabetes sooner rather than later is so important.

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“The One Walk is a great event and we are all looking forward to it – especially Eilidh. At times during the walk I suspect that Joan and I will take turns in giving her a piggy back, but Eilidh will make it to the finish.”

The Kane’s family story is heart-wrenching.

Eilidh, Iona and Grace with Tara the dog. Picture: contributed.

Diagnosed with right-sided hemiplegic cerebral palsy at nine months, Eilidh was then diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five. The timing couldn’t have been worse. Eilidh and her twin sister Iona were about to start school and baby Grace had just arrived.

In Paul’s own words, his world ‘shrank’ around him:

“The brick walls went up and no-one was getting in – I had come to terms with the fact that no-one was ever going to be able or even willing to look after my girls and they were never going to go anywhere without one of us. And this life continued, with the constant worry, the never ending checking of blood sugars, through finger prick tests - which because of her condition Eilidh finds it extremely difficult to do herself - and the continuous lack of sleep.”

The Kane family hope to raise awareness of diabetes.

Then in January this year, Grace was also diagnosed with type 1. Because of their experience with Eilidh, Paul and Joan knew what to do and were able to get Grace home from hospital quickly.

But it was Grace’s diagnosis and her ability to manage her condition compared to her sister that really brought it home to Paul just how difficult it is for Eilidh and why the Kanes are fundraising for JDRF.

He added: “Seeing Grace, now age four, able to do her own blood sugar tests and essentially being almost self-sufficient when it comes to testing; and then seeing the constant effort Eilidh has to endure - struggling to do her own blood sugars and even operate her insulin pump - because her hemiplegia, makes me want more for my children.”

Eilidh, Iona and Grace with Tara the dog. Picture: contributed.