Published: 06:00, 05 August 2020
| Updated: 10:18, 05 August 2020
The mum of a toddler with Type 1 diabetes says people have looked on in disgust if she's forced to inject her daughter in public.
Sarah Allen has highlighted the ignorance of some towards the condition as she looks to raise awareness of its prevalence in young children.
Little Summer-Rose Allen, from Reculver, was diagnosed in April after suffering from bedwetting and increased levels of thirst.
Sarah says disgusted glances have been flashed in her daughter's direction when she has had to be given a shot of insulin in public.
The 33-year-old remembers being in disbelief when medics at the QEQM Hospital in Margate revealed her daughter had diabetes.
“She’s potty trained, but it got to the point where she was weeing and weeing during the night and I was having to change her bedsheets every night – it was driving me mad,” she said.
“I needed to see if there was something wrong.
"I rang the doctors saying she was constantly drinking and that the bedwetting was just getting too much.
“They said it could have been a urine infection.
“Within 10 minutes of dropping her off they said I needed to get her to the hospital.
“I rushed up there and they said she has Type 1 diabetes.
“I cried. I was saying ‘what can I do to get rid of it?’ But they said there’s nothing I could have done and there was no way of stopping it.”
Doctors do not know how Summer-Rose developed Type 1 diabetes, which is more often found in children over the age of five.
Ms Allen says no one in the child’s family has been diagnosed with the incurable condition.
Since her daughter’s diagnosis, the mum-of-three has had to administer four injections of insulin into her daughter’s leg every day.
The Herne Bay youngster also has to be given jelly babies if her blood sugar levels are low.
Ms Allen continued: “A couple of times when we were out, I’ve had to give her insulin and people look at you.
“A few weeks ago, we were down the seafront and she wanted an ice cream, so I had to give her insulin to prepare for it.
"I did it, but I could see people looking in disgust because I was doing it in public.
“I think they were thinking ‘why are you doing it out and about?’ I’d rather it if they'd just ask.”
Seventeen in every 100,000 children develop diabetes each year, with 90% of them found to be suffering from Type 1.
Sufferers of the autoimmune disorder – which, unlike Type 2, is not linked to obesity – are not able to produce sufficient insulin, a hormone needed to regulate glucose levels, in their pancreases.
Statistics from 2013 also revealed that 0.22% of diabetes sufferers in England and Wales are aged between zero and nine, with it being most prevalent in boys.
Of all the people with diabetes in the UK, about 8% have Type 1.
The illness can increase the risk of nerve damage, strokes, kidney problems, blood circulation issues, sight impairment and of developing heart disease.
“No one ever thinks that young children can get it, especially at Summer’s age," Ms Allen added.
“I was oblivious to it before her diagnosis.
“A lot of people think it’s to do with diet, like through having too many fizzy drinks or sweets, but it’s not the case.”
“That’s why people need to be aware; they don’t understand the full extent of it."