Jimmy Parker, young fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes Research
When there is a better chance of winning the lottery than of you and your dad being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at almost the same time, it isn’t much comfort to beat the odds. But that is what happened to nine-year-old Jimmy from Tangmere.
“I kept feeling sick, I was really tired and I was drinking loads,” said Jimmy, explaining how he knew something was wrong.
Thinking it was a bug of some sort, mum Gemma, a doctor’s receptionist, consulted a colleague.
“When she told me to get Jimmy to A&E immediately I was so shocked,” she admitted.
Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, Jimmy was extremely poorly. Remaining in hospital for several days, medics taught him to inject his insulin.
“The nurses gave him a backpack from JDRF [Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation], which had a teddy in it and lots of information. It was so helpful to us in understanding Jimmy’s condition,” recalled Gemma. “We didn’t have a clue before.”
Explaining that you become a dietician overnight; analysing everything in your shopping trolley, James, Jimmy’s dad, confessed to being devastated by the diagnosis.
“I’m not religious in any way, but I prayed that at least I could go through it with him,” he said.
Bizarrely, just two weeks later, he was diagnosed with the same condition.
“I was in the same bed Jimmy had been in. The nurses couldn’t believe it and that’s when they told us that we hadbetter odds of winning the lottery.”
Neither of Jimmy’s siblings shows any signs of the disease but family mealtimes have changed, with Jimmy and James having to take great care to ‘carb count.’
As his dad recovered, however, thoughtful Jimmy was hatching a plan.
“I wanted to raise money for JDRF so that other children canlearn what to do when they find out they have diabetes. I wanted something that was for everyone, so a fun day was the best idea,” he told me.
“We’ve got bouncy castles, Segway rides, stalls, refreshments, and lots more. And raffle prizes include a signed Old Trafford football and also Â£100!” he said, beaming.
“And JDRF are coming to answer any questions people may have,” interjected Gemma.
Praising medical staff, St Richard’s and the teachers at Tangmere Primary School (who have been trained to give Jimmy insulin), she added: “It has been really tough, but we are so proud of Jimmy. We are also overwhelmed by the support we have been given. We hope everyone will come to the fun day. “
“I want to do it every year!” piped up Jimmy, as he showedme the patch-like system that currently dispenses his medication.
As we said goodbye, Jimmy confided that hopes to be a carpenter like dad when he grows up. And I’m sure he will.This brave and inspirational young man is made of strong and special stuff.
Jimmy’s Family Fun Day: Sunday 8 July; 12.00 – 16.00,The Fishbourne Centre, Fishbourne. Find Jimmy’s Fun Day on facebook. For more information: www.jdrf.org.uk