Halifax mum's run inspired by her brave boy after diabetes diagnosis

This Halifax mum has to give her three-year-old up to eight injections a day after a shock diagnosis turned their lives upside down.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 11:03 am
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 11:04 am
Fiona Spencer, who will take on the Great North Run, with Ronnie and Elsie.

Fiona Spencer’s son Ronnie Sullivan needs regular shots of insulin and his blood sugar level constantly monitored after being diagnosed with type one diabetes.

Inspired by her little boy’s courage and determined to prove his illness should not hold him back, Fiona, from Illingworth, is taking on this year’s Great North Run in aid of Diabetes UK.

“I’m not a runner but I’m going to do this” said the 27-year-old support worker.

“I want to show him that no matter what, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

“I want to show him that even though he is diabetic and is going to be on insulin for life, it’s not going to hold him back if he doesn’t want it to.”

Ronnie’s diagnosis came in November, when he was two. He had started drinking and urinating excessively but was otherwise well.

When doctors tested his blood sugar level, it was so high it was off the GP’s chart.

At Calderdale Royal Hospital, they tested him again. For a child, a level of 10 is considered high. Ronnie’s was more than 35.

“We had to spend a week in hospital learning about diabetes,” said Fiona. “Because of coronavirus, only I was allowed to stay in with him.

“We knew very little about diabetes. It’s not that common, especially for a two-year-old. We didn’t want to believe it at first.”

Nurses taught Fiona how to inject Ronnie with insulin and he quickly got used to the frequent needles.

“Everything he has to eat, he has to have an injection” she explained, ”We’ve constantly got to monitor his blood sugars.”

Ronnie’s parents use a pinprick test to check his blood sugar, usually 13 or 14 times a day. They have to inject him with insulin around eight times a day.

As an energetic little boy, his blood sugars can often be up and down. His parents even need to get up in the night to monitor him.

”He’s fine with the injections” said Fiona. “He’s so brave. They don’t bother him at all.

”It’s non-stop. We’ve just got to be constantly on the ball.”

As well as raising funds for Diabetes UK, Fiona hopes to raise awareness of the impact a child’s diagnosis has on their parents.

She has started training for the run, which takes place in September, and Ronnie and his big sister Elsie will be there to cheer their mum on.

To sponsor Fiona, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fiona-spencer3