Belfast Telegraph

Before this, Rhys had to have 8 jabs a day

By Victoria O'Hara

Rhys McDonnell is 14 and lives in Banbridge with his mum Teresa, dad Colin and sister Rachel. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of eight and his mum says the insulin pump has transformed his life.

"It was such a shock when we were told Rhys had diabetes," Teresa said. "The first thing we heard was that it is life-limiting – which for any parent is a frightening thing to hear. He was having to take his injections eight times a day.

"This had a big impact not just on Rhys, but us as a family. We always had to eat our dinner at 5pm and it led to Rhys withdrawing. It was getting to the point with Rhys where he wouldn't go out with friends."

Rhys' parents then approached his trust about a pump and also attended a Diabetes UK family weekend.

"It doesn't solve the problem but it makes life so much more normal, especially for a little boy. He now goes out with his friends and eats when he wants and he doesn't need to take injections. As a family we can go anywhere we want for meals, it takes the restriction away. It did transform his life," she added.

Rhys competes for Northern Ireland in karate and is currently mid-Ulster champion. He also loves playing football.

"I've spoken with other parents who are frustrated that they can't get access to a pump but are told they are on a waiting list. But I know there are nurses who are under so much pressure," said Teresa.

"We have had lots of help from our consultants and nurses – they are the ones who need help if the clinics are to get better."

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