Mum to abseil off Forth Road Bridge for diabetes charity

Patsy will abseil from the Forth Road Bridge this weekend. Picture: Scott Louden
Patsy will abseil from the Forth Road Bridge this weekend. Picture: Scott Louden
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A BRAVE mum will face her scariest test at the weekend when she abseils off the Forth Rail Bridge in support of her seven year old son.

Patsy Millar-Bradford watches son Sean overcome his fears on a daily basis as he deals with his type 1 diabetes and is making the 165ft ‘jump’ to raise funds for research charity JDRF and help find the cure to his condition.

Sean was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four and the impact was overwhelming.

As Sean struggled with the multiple insulin injections, the family from West Kilbride had to learn to adapt to a new way of life that revolved around multiple daily finger prick blood tests, monitoring the carbohydrate content of all meals, sleepless nights and endless life-critical decisions about everyday things such as exercise and children’s parties.

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Type 1 diabetes can hit anyone at any age and has a life-long impact on those diagnosed.

Sean and Patsy Millar-Bradford. Picture: Contributed

Sean and Patsy Millar-Bradford. Picture: Contributed

People with the autoimmune condition rely on countless insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive. The condition is not linked to lifestyle.

Sean is now using an insulin pump, which has made a huge difference. He was even brave enough to make his own YouTube video about what it means to him to live with type 1 diabetes.

But the challenges are ongoing, and Patsy believes that the research JDRF is funding will lead to the cure.

She said: “Every day I ask Sean to overcome his fears and so I felt I should put myself in a position of fear to be able to say to him “here’s me doing something scary too”. The abseil is well out of my comfort zone, but it is for a good cause.

“I’m hoping to raise over £1,000 and Sean has made a fantastic video to help raise the funds. The video tries to dispel some of the misconceptions about type 1 diabetes, which can stigmatise kids with the condition.

“We wanted to really illustrate how many challenges kids with type 1 face each day and just how resilient and amazing they are.

“I don’t think people realise the 24/7 relentless work type 1 kids and type 1 parents have to put in to manage their condition.”

As a former research scientist and engineer - a career she hopes to return to when Sean is older - Patsy recognises the importance of JDRF’s work.

She added: “The research that is being funded by JDRF in Scotland and around the world is really exciting.

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Finding the cure is like a big jigsaw and each successful research study is another piece in that jigsaw. We have to give them as much support as possible as this is what will make the difference for everyone, like Sean, who lives with type 1.”

JDRF exists to find the cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications, and is the world’s leading type 1 diabetes research charity.

At a global level, JDRF volunteers and staff have been responsible for raising over £1billion to support type 1 diabetes research, since the charity’s inception.

JDRF has currently committed £3.9m to fund research in Scotland. The JDRF Scotland Development Group exists to help fundraise to support existing research and to encourage Scotland’s world leading research community to play a greater role in the development of cure.

Scotland has the third highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world, with 30,000 adults and children living with condition.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that has a life-long impact on those diagnosed with it and their families. JDRF exists to find the cure for type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that cannot be prevented, and is not linked to lifestyle factors. People with type 1 diabetes rely on multiple insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive. It normally strikes children and stays with them for the rest of their lives.

Type 1 diabetes affects about 400,000 people in the UK, 29,000 of them children.

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