Pals of tragic Maddy-Leigh aim to set a world record in her honour
Heartbroken family and friends of a Co Armagh schoolgirl who died suddenly last month will honour her memory today by attempting a world record.
Maddy-Leigh Harbinson (11), from Collingdale in Lurgan, passed away at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital on February 18.
She had unknowingly developed Type 1 diabetes that resulted in multiple organ failure.
Maddy-Leigh had just started Year Eight at Lismore Comprehensive School in Craigavon last September.
The Lismore school community will attempt a world record for the largest human pi symbol to mark today's date.
The event is taking place on a day that celebrates the mathematical symbol.
The current world record is 847 people, achieved in Portugal in March last year, but organisers believe they can smash this number.
In partnership with Maddy-Leigh's family, the record attempt will also be raising awareness and funds for Diabetes UK.
Maddy-Leigh's death is still being mourned by her devastated parents, Sabrina and Colin, and her brother, Tristen, along with her wider family circle and friends.
"We are delighted and overwhelmed that Lismore Comprehensive is attempting a world record in memory of Maddy-Leigh," Sabrina said.
"We are pleased that Lismore is also raising awareness about Type 1 diabetes and the potential life-threatening risk it poses."
Sabrina urged other parents and family members to know what symptoms to look for but to also be aware that not every child who develops Type 1 diabetes will outwardly show the common signs.
She said: "Maddy-Leigh only had a few minor symptoms, but nothing that would suggest Type 1 diabetes, with some symptoms the complete opposite.
"This made it impossible for us to realise Maddy-Leigh had developed Type 1 diabetes. While this is a very rare case, we would ask other parents to be vigilant and would like more testing to be done on children to check for diabetes.
"If your child is ill, please ask your GP to do a finger prick test to check for diabetes. It only takes a few seconds and could save lives.
"When a child develops diabetes, it happens very quickly and rapidly, so it's important to act quickly.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank family, friends, Lismore Comprehensive and the wider community for their support at this very difficult time."
Lismore principal Fiona Kane said Maddy-Leigh's sudden but peaceful death over the mid-term break in February had a devastating impact on the whole school community.
She added: "Maddy-Leigh's friends asked us on the first days back to school following the mid-term break if we could fund-raise for Diabetes UK.
"The maths department, who are organising the world record attempt, thought we could possibly link the two, and the entire pupil population - over 1,200 pupils, as well as a number of staff - will be participating in the world record attempt.
"As the whole school community is involved, we thought it would be a prominent way to honour Maddy-Leigh's memory.
"If anyone would like to make a donation to Diabetes UK NI, they can do so by visiting the school."