A LIFE-CHANGING project to help young people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in Dumfries and Galloway has been created by the Rotary Club of Newton Stewart to the tune of £115,000.
The initiative to raise funds to buy insulin pumps has caught the imagination not only of many Scottish-based Rotary clubs but also overseas Rotary Districts of the worldwide organisation, including one in Brazil, who donated 15 thousand US dollars to purchase the technology.
The £115,000 raised globally includes £15,000 from the Newton Stewart Club who run popular events annually, such as the Wheelie Good Bike Show, to support good causes.
The money, which marks the very first award of its type to Scotland, will now be used to provide 26 insulin pumps to help young people with type 1 diabetes under the age of 18 in the region live a relatively normal life. This contribution will enhance our existing paediatric pump service.
At present, many of those who need treatment have to rely on a syringe injection up to six times a day.
Insulin pumps are attached to the body and can be managed by the person with diabetes who uses the pump to directly control the amount of insulin being released into the blood stream without the need for repeated injections and allow people with diabetes to achieve better blood sugar results and so reduce the chance of complications from diabetes later in life.
This can totally transform the lives of those with Type 1 diabetes, which cannot be cured and is not related to lifestyle.
Benefits for young people with Type 1 diabetes who are fitted with a pump include greater quality of life both at home and in the school setting, sporting activities are easier to manage, reducing the risk of hypoglycaemic events and releasing them from relying on others to administer insulin.
The Rotary Club in Newton Stewart were inspired to undertake the biggest project in their long history after one of their members highlighted the lack of insulin pumps available through the National Health Service, after his grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
He and his wife were in a position to buy an insulin pump for the child and it transformed his life.
Realising the importance of this, the Rotary Club asked a consultant physician for diabetes from NHS Dumfries and Galloway to come and give a talk on the subject to the members.
Dr Fiona Green highlighted the fact that the statistics for the area show a high number of children and adults have no access to pump therapy due to the cost involved. With the Newton Stewart Rotary project ticking all the boxes globally, the £115,000 raised will now mean that 26 children/ young people will not only receive one of the insulin pumps purchased, but will also be supported with lifelong care from NHS Dumfries and Galloway (as long as they are in the region).
Rotarian Keith Best, who has led the project, said: “The talk from the consultant made us realise there was an opportunity to help with the provision of insulin pumps in this area.
“This inspired us to raise funds to get pumps for Dumfries and Galloway.
“The pumps help those with Type 1 diabetes overcome issues related to the condition. School attendance can be erratic and sufferers tend to pick up infections easily. The pump reduces this.
“This is our 51st year and this is, by far, the biggest project ever undertaken by Newton Stewart Rotary.
“We have received financial support from other Rotary clubs in the region, including Kirkcudbright, Stranraer, Dumfries, Lockerbie and Thornhill and we also received support from the Cree Valley Community Council who have wholeheartedly backed us.
“But what pleases me most is that a local Rotary Club can create an international partnered project to support young people resident in its own country.”
The funding has been welcomed by NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
General Manager of Women, Children and Sexual Health Services Directorate Linda Williamson said: “This is a great achievement by The Rotary Club of Newton Stewart.
“We will now take forward the work using the global grant which has been secured, confident that it will make a difference to many young peoples’ lives.”
Consultant Physician Fiona Green said: “We are very fortunate and grateful to have received this level of support from the Rotary club whose persistence and enthusiasm to improve the lives of young people with diabetes will drive through improvements in health and quality of life for these young people in the years to come.”