Nine-year-old raises €950 for Diabetes Ireland

FiachraMy name is Fíachra Dooley and I am in third class in Scoil Naomh Eoin, Rath. Two years ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. One day my vision became blurred and then I could not stop drinking. I was so thirsty, no matter how much I drank I was still really thirsty. Straight away my dad Eamonn knew the signs of diabetes and I was sent to Ballinasloe Hospital with a blood glucose reading of 52. A normal blood glucose reading for me should be between 4 and 9 so I was pretty sick.

Now everyday and before every meal I prick my finger and check my blood, My mam and I then record it in my diary. We weigh all my food and record that too. Then my mam works out how much insulin I need and I inject myself into my stomach or leg. Two hours later I prick my finger again and check my blood and record that too. Altogether I prick my finger 10 times a day and I inject myself five times a day.

I can eat the same as everyone else but if I choose to eat sugary, fatty foods I need more insulin. That means more injections and it can make my sugar readings a bit crazy for a few days and make me feel sick. So I am better off to only have treats the odd time and eat healthy food and do lots of exercise.

Sometimes I miss sweets but my favourite treats are my Granny Yeates apple tarts and cheesecakes and my Granny Dooleys cakes and buns so I always look forward to them.

I can have a hypo (episode of low blood sugar) when I play sport and burn too much energy or maybe inject too much insulin. When it happens to me I feel dizzy, sweaty, shaky, confused and sometimes I sway and am very cross. All I need is something small to eat like a sweet, a bread slice, a biscuit, a banana or a mouthful of juice or a sugary drink. If I don’t get something quickly I may become unconscious and then I need an ambulance straight away.

When I become hyper (blood sugar is too high) it makes me feel so sick, tired and thirsty. It’s usually because I didn’t get enough insulin or it can be a sign that I am coming down with a bug. I need insulin to bring my sugar levels down. If I let a hyper go on for too long without treatment I may develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which is another emergency situation.

I love swimming, running and I hurl with my favourite team Drumcullen. My trainers are very kind to me and my Mam never misses any trainings or matches in case I might feel hypo and faint. My really cool friends and their parents are very kind to me and are always looking out for me.

The biggest problem with diabetes is that people don’t know much about it. In the beginning some people thought I got diabetes because I ate too much sweets. How crazy is that?! In school I have access to our Special Needs Assistant Ann. Ann and my teacher Mrs Davis keep me safe and always remind me to check my bloods and eat my food. All the staff in Rath school spent a lot of their time being trained on type 1 diabetes and if I had a wish it would be that like my teachers, people would take time to learn more about diabetes.

So that is why I decided to do my fundraiser for Diabetes Ireland. Diabetes Ireland is a national charity dedicated to helping people with diabetes. They also do other things like organise cool trips. Last year they arranged for us to hurl at half time during the League Final between Kilkenny and Tipperary. I was hurling on the same pitch as Henry Shefflin and Brendan Cummins.I was hurling for Kilkenny and we won! I was even on television with Brian Coady. It was just the best experience so far.

Diabetes Ireland make having diabetes just that little bit easier and they are a great support. They also organise charity walks and lots of fundraising events during the year. Like all charities they rely on funds to keep going. For my fundraiser I decided to let my hair grow and after eight months I finally had it cut very short thanks to Jamal in the Hairy Barber, Tullamore. With the help of so many very kind people who sponsored