Thornton schoolgirl Demi Stennings has a very special reason for organising a fundraising event next month.
The 11-year-old was close to slipping into a coma two months ago and had to be rushed to hospital – where doctors discovered she had Type One diabetes.
She and her family previously had no idea she had the condition, and now want to help raise awareness and money to help support others with the illness.
Millfield High School pupil Demi decided she wanted to hold a fund-raising event, in aid of Diabetes UK and the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and set about organising it, with her mum Helen.
Helen said: “Since her diagnosis, Demi has taken it all so well, with bravery and determination. She won’t let it stop her doing things she wants in life and wants to help others in her situation.
“I think it’s a really good idea, and all the family is so proud of Demi.
“It started off with her just feeling a bit unwell, I thought perhaps it was teenage hormones starting. On the Saturday, she was feeling unwell and in the early hours of the August Bank Holiday weekend she became really unwell. She couldn’t breathe.
“It was really scary, obviously we called an ambulance and they came straight away.
“The paramedic guessed what it was, apparently he could smell the ketones.
“They were great, they rushed her into hospital at Blackpool Victoria and into the High Dependency Unit.
“Demi doesn’t remember much about it, but it was the worst night of my life. She had diabetic ketoacidosis and she was close to slipping into a coma, due to acid in her blood.
“She came off the HDU on the Tuesday and was in hospital for a week.
“When the doctors diagnosed her with diabetes, it was a shock. I didn’t think there had been any symptoms, but looking back – now I know what to look for – I think some signs were there.
“And that’s one of the things Demi, and I, want to do – to raise awareness, as well as money for the charities.”
Demi has organised a charity fair, to take place on November 14 – Diabetes Awareness Day – at Ashley Social Club, on Victoria Road, Thornton, from noon to 4pm.
She is planning to have various stalls, a raffle, tombola, games such as name the bear and guess the weight of the cake, as well as face-painting and a bouncy castle.
Demi said: “I set up a group on Facebook, for young people and other children with diabetes to be able to talk.
“I had heard about the JDRF, and noticed they are always fund-raising, so I asked my mum if I could do some fundraising.
“Since then, we have been working on it and want to raise money to help other people.
“I want to raise awareness too, I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, so even if it helps just one person, I would be really pleased.”
Anyone who can help with donations of prizes can email firstname.lastname@example.org