Belfast Telegraph

Cameron award for 'amazing' diabetes campaigning mum

By Amanda Ferguson

A mother from Lisburn has been presented with an award by the Prime Minister for reaching out to other parents of children living with diabetes.

Kathryn Cooney, a Diabetes UK service champion, received a Point of Light award from David Cameron in recognition of her tireless efforts to support those struggling to come to terms with their child's diabetes.

Kathryn's daughter Sarah became critically ill with Type 1 diabetes in 2008, almost dying as her blood glucose rose to life-threatening levels.

Since then, the inspiring volunteer has spent hundreds of hours reaching out to parents of children living with Type 1 diabetes, through Facebook and email.

Over late nights, she has helped parents come to terms with the impact the condition has on lives and offered them support, advice and hope.

Kathryn said: "I am thrilled to have received the Point of Light award for doing something I feel so passionately about.

"I think it is so important that families get together to share experiences of living with Type 1 diabetes, helping parents, children with type 1, and their siblings feel supported."

Kathryn is the 87th recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding and inspiring individuals who are having a positive impact in their community.

In 2012, Kathryn was successful in helping to reduce waiting times in some health trusts for children needing insulin pumps to less than six months.

The pumps remove the need for children to inject insulin through syringes, usually four times a day, for the rest of their lives.

Mr Cameron praised Kathryn's achievements, saying: "Having a child diagnosed with diabetes can be heart-breaking. Parents naturally have lots of questions and can feel uncertain and alone.

"Kathryn has been instrumental in working with parents online and in person to show them that it is possible to live well with diabetes.

"She is an amazing pillar of the community and a real inspiration.

"I am pleased to give this UK Point of Light to Kathryn in recognition of her remarkable achievements."

Lynette Irvine from Newtownabbey, who has been helped by Kathryn through Diabetes UK, said she was glad Kathryn had been recognised with this award.

Lynette is the mother of Curtis who has type 1 diabetes.

"When my son went on a long waiting list for an insulin pump she gave me the criteria that trusts use and the names of people to contact straight away," she said.

"Curtis got the pump within six months and it changed our lives.

"This lady is both tireless and relentless when it comes to helping others with diabetes.

"I really don't know were she gets the time and the energy yet she asks for nothing in return."

The Points of Light UK awards recognise outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. They celebrate, encourage and promote volunteering.

If people want to nominate someone, they can do so by writing to the Prime Minister.

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