Leigh Park youngsters’ diabetes funding row goes to parliament

ACTION Emma Bailey with her insulin pump.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (120711-4)
ACTION Emma Bailey with her insulin pump. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (120711-4)
The Ickle Pickle team at QA Hospital. From left Lorraine Blackburn, Lynn Croombs and  Joan Emms     
Picture: Habibur Rahman

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BRAVE Emma Bailey is taking her fight for better care for diabetes sufferers all the way to the Houses of Parliament.

The eight-year-old has Type 1 diabetes which is a serious condition that causes the body’s own immune system to turn on itself and attack cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.

It means Emma, from Emsworth, must use a pump which feeds insulin into her system each day rather than having to inject herself.

But not every child with the disease is given the pump, turning it into a postcode lottery for those wanting to get hold of the life-saving medical equipment.

The schoolgirl will join members of research charity JDRF and dozens of other adults and children with the condition in London on April 25.

Emma’s mum Helen, 52, of Linkenholt Way, Leigh Park, said: ‘Emma has to have insulin all day, every day through a pump which is a little device that looks like a pager.

‘It’s administered via a cannular and she also has to do finger prick tests.

‘She will have to do this for the rest of her life unless a cure is found.

‘But not everyone is able to get one of these – it depends on funding and we will be raising that in parliament.’

Emma, a pupil at Bosmere Junior School in Havant, will meet MPs and NHS bosses to explain what life is like living with the disease.

She explained: ‘It’s a bit strange actually because I feel different to other people.

‘Some people think I look a bit odd because I have a pump.

‘Sometimes at lunchtime I don’t get to sit with my friends because I have my lunch early as I need to use my insulin pump before every meal.

‘I would really like to find a cure for diabetes.’

Type 1 diabetes affects about 350,000 adults in the UK, including over 26,000 children. In 2009 the government committed £51m to research but only £6m was for Type 1 diabetes.

JDRF is lobbying MPs to boost the amount given for research, claiming it will not only help find a cure but will bring significant benefits to the economy. To find out more about Type 1 diabetes or to make a donation go to jdrf.org.uk or call 020 7713 2030.