Son’s condition prompts Cathy to zip over the River Lagan

Jamie-Lee Toman with his mum, Cathy. INLM09-209.
Jamie-Lee Toman with his mum, Cathy. INLM09-209.

A LURGAN mum will be facing her fears next month in order to raise awareness of a condition which affects her son as well as thousands of other people in the UK.

Cathy Toman’s son Jamie-Lee was four years of age when his family were told he had Type 1 Diabetes.

There was no family history of diabetes and it took over a year to diagnose his illness properly.

To raise awareness about Type 1 Diabetes and raise funds for Diabetes UK NI Cathy will be taking part in a Zipline Challenge across the River Lagan on March 16, the day before Jamie-Lee’s 10th birthday. The challenge involves Cathy crossing the Lagan on a pulley attached to a steel cable suspended above the river.

Cathy (30), a customer advisor with B&Q, said: “This is the first thing I’ve ever done for charity. I’m part of a Facebook group for parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes. Someone in the group asked would I be interested in doing the Zipline Challenge. I’m absolutely petrified but it’s a bit of challenge and a good way to raise awareness.”

Cathy told how she first discovered her son had Type 1 Diabetes. She said: “Jamie-Lee was diagnosed on February 22, 2008 - he was four, about to turn five. There wasn’t any family history of diabetes which is why it took longer to spot.

“We’d been running to the doctor for about a year. He was always complaining about being thirsty and he was drinking constantly. He was always running to the toilet and he’d started bed wetting because of all the fluids he was taking on.”

She continued: “When he was first diagnosed he had been on four injections a day now he’s on an insulin pump which is attached 24 hours a day and changed once every three days. The pump is attached to his stomach and works to keep his levels steady.

“From the first time he got it fitted he never complained once. He leads a very active lifestyle. He goes swimming, plays football, goes to karate and takes part in other after school activities at Tannaghmore Primary School.”

His mum added: “He’s very open about it. He was diagnosed in Primary 1 so all his friends have grown up with him having it. He has to have Lucozade and Jelly Babies he needs to take if his blood sugar levels get low. His friends look after him if he gets low and needs to top up.”

Cathy reminded parents to look out for the Four Ts - Toilet, Thirsty, Tired, Thinner. She said: “The Four Ts are the symptoms that people who have Type 1 Diabetes may exhibit. There doesn’t have to be a family history, so it’s important that parents are aware of what to look out for.

“If it goes undiagnosed it can lead to a coma.”

Cathy concluded: “Jamie-Lee thinks it’s fantastic that I’m doing the zipline. He can’t wait. I think he’s looking forward to hearing me scream.”

Cathy’s daughter Katie (7) and her husband Wayne will also be listening to her scream while she zips across the Lagan on Saturday, March 16.

To donate to Cathy’s fundraising effort visit www.justgiving.com/Cathy-Toman