A courageous mum from West Kilbride will face her scariest test at the weekend (Sunday May 21), when she abseils off the Forth Rail Bridge in support of her seven year old son.
Patsy Millar-Bradford watches son Sean overcome his fears on a daily basis as he deals with his type 1 diabetes and is making the 165ft ‘jump’ for charity to help find the cure to his condition.
Sean was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four. As Sean struggled with the multiple insulin injections, the family had to learn to adapt to a new way of life that revolved around multiple daily finger prick blood tests, monitoring the carbohydrate content of all meals, sleepless nights and endless life-critical decisions about everyday things such as exercise and children’s parties.
Type 1 diabetes can hit anyone at any age and has a life-long impact on those diagnosed. People with the autoimmune condition rely on countless insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive. The condition is not linked to lifestyle.
Sean is now using an insulin pump, which has made a huge difference. He was even brave enough to make his own YouTube video about what it means to him to live with type 1 diabetes. But the challenges are ongoing, and Patsy believes that the research JDRF is funding will lead to the cure.
She said: “Every day I ask Sean to overcome his fears and so I felt I should put myself in a position of fear to be able to say to him “here’s me doing something scary too”. The abseil is well out of my comfort zone, but it is for a good cause.
“I’m hoping to raise over £1,000 and Sean has made a fantastic video to help raise the funds. The video tries to dispel some of the misconceptions about type 1 diabetes, which can stigmatise kids with the condition. We wanted to really illustrate how many challenges kids with type 1 face each day and just how resilient and amazing they are.
“I don’t think people realise the 24/7 relentless work type 1 kids and type 1 parents have to put in to manage their condition.”
As a former research scientist and engineer (a career she hopes to return to when Sean is older) Patsy recognises the importance of JDRF’s work.
“The research that is being funded by JDRF in Scotland and around the world is really exciting. Finding the cure is like a big jigsaw and each successful research study is another piece in that jigsaw. We have to give them as much support as possible as this is what will make the difference for everyone, like Sean, who lives with type 1.”
Patsy and Sean are from West Kilbride.