A nine-year-old girl who has to cope with the daily challenges posed by Type 1 diabetes has climbed a mountain to raise money for vital research into the condition.
Izzy Suiter, of Norwell, climbed Mount Snowdon because she wanted to do something to help find a cure and improve the lives of all children living with Type 1.
Her mother, Gemma Parry, was among those who accompanied Izzy.
“We thought that climbing a mountain would represent what she faces at times, and be enough of a challenge to hopefully raise needed funds,” said Gemma.
Also on the climb was Izzy’s dog, Tigger.
The family hope Tigger will become a hypo alert dog, trained to recognise when their owner has low blood glucose levels.
“He is my very best friend and went all the way up and down Snowdon with me,” said Izzy.
Her father, Nathan Suiter, also completed the challenge along with her uncle, Robert Parry, grandfather Baz Parry, godparents Mark and Gemma Brice and friend Mark Jones.
Gemma said the hardest part was the final ascent. She said it was unusually busy and she was scared Izzy would fall as she forged ahead to touch the summit.
The climb took four hours. They had to do regular blood tests to check Izzy’s sugar levels.
“She started with high blood sugar but it quickly fell to a manageable number and she had lots of Mars bars, cereal bars, sweets and bananas to give her the right amount of carbohydrates to climb 3,560ft over nine miles,” said Gemma.
“We had to queue to get to the top and touch the Trig Point but it was very exciting and a proud moment for me. Neither of us had climbed a mountain before and we were all there for Izzy.”
Izzy said: “When we got near the top it started to get really cold but I was glad that we got there.”
'It has been a daily battle'
She was just two years-old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
She spent four days in hospital but was allowed home after her family proved they were able to do blood tests, inject insulin and try to stablise her blood sugars.
“Since then it has been a daily battle,” said Gemma.
“Some days you win and her blood sugars stay around what they should be but most days we have higher or lower blood sugar levels. It is hard to stabilise children as so many factors affect the sugar levels.
“Type 1 diabetes never stops, takes a holiday or sleeps. We have to monitor her every day throughout the day.”
Izzy has an average of eight to ten finger prick blood tests a day and is on an insulin pump that requires a cannula to be inserted every two or three days.
If the pump fails to work her blood sugar rises rapidly. That can cause ketoacidosis, which can be fatal.
“We can never let our guard down and she can’t go anywhere without anyone who is trained,” said Gemma.
“There are days when it’s hard but she can’t remember any different and has learned to live with it.”
Gemma said she was proud of Izzy for wanting to do the Snowdon challenge, especially as they both knew how difficult it could be.
They have so far raised more than £1,100 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, smashing their £300 target. Donations can still be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iabella
“It would make me very happy if we could raise even more,” said Izzy.