George defies diabetes in search for cure

A MANSFIELD youngster battling diabetes has defied his illness by enjoying an incredible rollercoaster year of experiences.

Eleven-year-old George Dove was told he had the condition three-years-ago when a viral infection affecting his immune system and pancreas developed into the disease.

Now George, of Ashfield Avenue, must constantly monitor his blood sugar levels as well as take injections of insulin four times a day.

But despite all this, George has spent the year working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which works with young people and aims to find a cure for type one diabetes.

George's mum Emma said: "Earlier this year George was asked to speak at the Nottinghamshire STARS award, he did a speech about diabetes and how it has affected his life.

"As part of his speech he asked people to buy raffle tickets for the JDRF to raise funds and it's the first time ever they have run out of envelopes at the awards — people were literally just throwing money into the buckets after it."

Emma says that living with diabetes is difficult for George, but he always manages to put a positive slant on his illness.

"It's really hard for children of his age," said Emma. "There are so many children now that are getting type one diabetes and they don't know why it's increasing.

"At the moment if he wants a piece of cake or something he has to take another injection, he also has to check his blood sugar levels eight times a day by taking a sample of blood from his finger — by the time he is 16 he will have had more than 10,000 injections.

"They say that as soon as you are diagnosed it takes 15 years off your life expectancy, it can also lead to problems with his kidney, liver and heart as he gets older, as well as blindness and circulation problems — it's really sad but that's why we are working with the JDRF."

As well as speaking at the STARS awards, George was also put forward by the JDRF to be the first child in the country to try the new Bayer DIDGET — a device for measuring blood sugar which plugs into a Nintendo DS handset, rewarding youngsters by unlocking new levels and games when they successfully maintain their blood sugar levels.

"Bayer, the company that make it, paid for George and his sister to go to London to watch the Jonas Brothers live and then meet the band after the show," said Emma.

"They both loved it, to put it mildly, and there's a picture of them with the band that has pride of place in the house now.

"We then got to go to London again where George did a speech for World Diabetes Day.

"We were then asked to do another speech for the JDRF at the National Charity of the Year competition where we just missed out on winning the award."

In recognition of his efforts throughout the year, George was invited to speak at the JDRF's AGM meeting last month — the first child to have ever spoken at the event.

"He still gets nervous before he goes and does a talk and he takes it really seriously," Emma said.

"I'm really proud of him, he's done really well and takes every day in his stride. When you see what these children have to go through every day it's amazing."