Batley mum organises Lego fun day for diabetes awareness

Jo Fox with her son Oliver
Jo Fox with her son Oliver

A Batley mum whose son suffers from diabetes is calling for more awareness of the condition.

Jo Fox, of Hanging Heaton, is taking part in World Diabetes Day this week after eight-year-old Oliver was diagnosed in 2013.

Jo did not initially recognise the symptoms of Type One diabetes, which is a form of the illness caused by genetic rather than dietary and lifestyle factors.

A late diagnosis can potentially lead to life-changing complications in young children. Jo is now campaigning for parents to recognise the ‘four Ts’ which could be signs their child is diabetic.

They are going to the toilet more frequently, becoming thinner, an unquenchable thirst and being more tired than usual.

“Oliver had an unquenchable thirst, followed by excessive urination; it was especially bad at night and he would be very tired throughout the day. I thought it would be silly to take him to the doctors with thirst. The doctor did assure us that there was nothing we could have done to prevent diabetes, nor was it caused by anything we did or didn’t do,” said Jo.

Oliver spent several nights in hospital, had to learn how to inject himself and take blood tests up to 10 times a day and his parents had to learn how to count the carbohydrate content of all his food. Type One diabetes requires constant monitoring, including throughout the night.

“It is a hard condition to manage, but I remember that we are lucky to have the NHS. In some countries, diabetes is still a death sentence as families cannot afford insulin. Insulin is the only way to treat this condition and these families already live in poverty; this means children die.”

Jo’s research led to her becoming involved with the Pendsey Trust, a UK charity which supports diabetic children in poorer countries, and she has now organised a fund-raising Lego family afternoon at Hanging Heaton Cricket Club. Children will have the chance to build Lego structures and put them onto an earthquake simulator to test their strength. Entry is £7 per child, including food, on Sunday November 15 from 1-4pm.

“We sponsor a child in India, but I felt it was important to fundraise as the charity help to break the cycle of poverty and provide support and assistance to allow young people to eventually become self-sufficient with their medical care,” added Jo.