When the coronavirus lockdown was imposed many people feared going to hospital A&E departments in case of accidental infection. But for Co Antrim mum Keira McCambridge that trip to hospital may have saved her six-year-old son's life.
Keira (30) from Carnlough says she was terrified when she had to take Connor to A&E, but now dreads to think of the consequences if she had not.
Little Connor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on March 27, just a week after the UK locked down.
He was kept in hospital for five days as medical staff worked to control his blood sugar levels and him get used to daily injections of insulin.
The entire family - Connor, his sister Faye (1), stepdad Sean O'Hare (25), a self-employed fibre engineer, and mum, a retail assistant - have been shielding to keep Connor safe after his diagnosis made him more vulnerable to Covid-19.
But now that she has recovered from the initial shock of her son's diagnosis, Keira says lockdown has actually given the family a chance to adapt to a new way of life, which involves monitoring Connor's carbohydrate intake and ensuring he gets all five of his daily insulin injections.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.
Different factors including genetics and some viruses may contribute to type 1 diabetes, which usually appears during childhood or adolescence, although it can develop in adults.
Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications.
Keira recalls how she first suspected Connor wasn't well a few weeks before his diagnosis because his behaviour changed.
He appeared to have less energy and a low mood, which was completely out of character.
His mum initially feared her young boy was struggling with depression, but when he developed an unquenchable thirst she suspected he could have diabetes.
She recalls: "Connor just wasn't himself. His mood was really low and he seemed to have no 'oomph'.
"He wasn't sleeping right, which wasn't like him, and he was thirsty all of the time. No amount of water would satisfy him.
"I know people tell you not to go on Google, but because Connor had meningitis when he was four weeks old and in my head anything could have been wrong, that's what I did."
Keira quickly discovered that her son had symptoms of type 1 diabetes. She called on her mum and a family friend, who are both nurses and had the equipment to carry out urine and glucose tests at home.
These revealed that Connor had very high levels of glucose, and when Keira rang her GP and told him the results he advised that she take her son straight to A&E.
She says: "Lockdown had just started and I know it sounds terrible but the scariest part was going to A&E because of the risks of Covid-19.
"I was worried about taking a child into hospital and when we got there and saw all the Covid safety signs and the medical staff in full PPE, it was scary for both of us.
"We were taken quite quickly to the children's ward where the nurses were amazing and there was no talk at all of Covid. In fact Connor had a great time doing arts and crafts and colouring in."
While Connor was in hospital his mum had to spend the time learning a new way of preparing the family meals, counting carbohydrate content for each meal so that she can work out how much insulin to give her son.
For a whole week she swapped the home school lessons for new life lessons as she taught her son about foods, their nutritional value and how important it is that he watches what he eats.
She explains: "At first it was really hard and I cried and cried but there is nothing you can do about it and you just have to get on with it.
"When I look back now I genuinely was convinced he was depressed and part of me is relieved he wasn't, as he is only six.
"At least with diabetes it is something we can control as there are a lot worse things that people are dealing with.
"In one way I am glad it happened during lockdown as it has given us the time to adjust.
"I've explained to Connor that his pancreas is not working properly and it's no one's fault but it means he has to take his injections and watch what he eats.
"I spent a week schooling him about foods, which is something I wouldn't have been able to do under normal circumstances. He now knows to check the packet if he is taking a snack. He knows he can eat anything under 15g of carbs."
Keira is grateful her son was diagnosed in time and adds: "I've heard the stories about people, because of Covid, being too scared to go to hospital or to the doctor.
"If I had sat in my house because I was too scared to take Connor to hospital I dread to think what would have happened to him.
"I would urge people not to neglect their health or be scared to go into hospital, it's really not worth it."
Hannah White (23) from Carrickfergus was just a few months off starting high school when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
The shock was something that took years for her to come to terms with. And during that time she nearly died because of complications from the condition.
Hannah graduated with a degree in film last year and works part-time in Tesco. She hopes to pursue a career teaching film to children with special needs. She is also a talented artist.
She reveals how it is only in the last couple of years, with the help of a psychologist who specialises in patients with diabetes, that she has learnt to come to terms with the condition.
Her inability to accept the dramatic change to her life brought about by diabetes led to her suffering from anxiety and depression.
She recalls: "Not a lot of people realise that diabetes and mental health go hand in hand and I found it very difficult to cope with. School was great and they gave me a room to go into to inject my insulin at lunchtime, but I didn't want to be the kid who had to go into a room to do that.
"I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 15. I struggled because I didn't want to be different from my friends and people don't really understand what diabetes is. Most people think it means you can't eat sugar, and yes, you do have to be careful, but I can eat what everyone else eats, I just have to keep an eye on my blood sugar levels.
"My parents were an amazing support but it is only in the last few years that I have been able to look after myself and have wanted to take care of myself."
Hannah's denial about her condition led to her snacking in her mid-teens and not monitoring her glucose levels as closely as she should have.
But this led to her developing a life-threatening complication that put her in intensive care.
She says: "I took diabetic ketoacidosis and nearly died and that was a huge wake-up call to me about how serious it is.
"Ketoacidosis happens when your sugar levels are high and that leads to a build-up of acid, which causes the body to start shutting down.
"That scared me a lot and taught me how important it was to test myself regularly. Before that I hadn't taken it seriously and would have snacked a lot and not checked my blood sugar levels.
"I did a course to teach myself how to count carbs, which has made all the difference to my life."
Just before lockdown she joined a new support group for young people called Our Lives Our Voices set up a year ago by Diabetes UK.
She has become an active member over the last few weeks, using her talent as an artist to design stickers for the group, which has been meeting each week during lockdown through online Zoom calls.
For Hannah it has been a lifeline and she is now passionate about working with the group to further develop services for young people and children.
She adds: "Our Lives Our Voices is a wellbeing programme for young people with diabetes and joining it is one of the best things I have ever done.
"We are planning to make videos about diabetes for young people, which will be fun, and put them out on TikTok and social media.
"I wish I'd had something like it when I was growing up.
"I had support from friends and family but being able to talk to people my age who have diabetes and understand it is amazing; we are able to help each other.
"Since joining I have enjoyed being creative. For some time I have wanted to make diabetes-related art and maybe sell it and the group has taken my artwork and is going to make it into a sticker, which is a dream come true for me.
"I have so much more confidence in myself because of the group and I only joined a couple of weeks before lockdown.
"I would just like to say that no matter what age you are diagnosed, you are not alone, there are people who understand and there are support groups out there."
For further information or support as well as information on Our Lives Our Voices, the Diabetes UK team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org