Published: 07/03/2014 08:00 - Updated: 06/03/2014 16:44

Amelie dives in to help others

Written byChris Saunderson

A COURAGEOUS little girl who copes daily with Type 1 diabetes is taking on another massive challenge to help other boys and girls like her.

Amelie loves swimming. Photo by Eric Cormack, NS Chief Photographer.
Amelie loves swimming. Photo by Eric Cormack, NS Chief Photographer.

Amelie Roger (7) was diagnosed with the condition at the age of just two.

For years she has had to cope with up to four daily injections of insulin to combat the debilitating effects of diabetes.

In the last year, however, Amelie has been given a new freedom to live life to the full after being fitted with an insulin pump which works like an artificial pancreas and makes it easier to receive her potentially life-saving doses of insulin.

She still requires a canula, which releases the insulin into her body, to be changed every two days, but the pump, which she keeps discreetly in her ‘One Direction’ bumbag, has given her a lot more flexibility.

Amelie is a keen swimmer, and has recruited mum Abby and dad Graeme, both 38, to take part in a Diabetes UK swim challenge.

‘Team Roger’ has taken on the mammoth task of swimming the equivalent of the English Channel – 22 miles – in the next couple of months.

That means the family completing around 1,500 lengths of their local pools in Buckie and Keith, and they have already notched up more than 200.

Amelie’s challenge has already raised more than £500, and with the help of both swimming pools and her classmates at Mosstodloch Primary, she hopes to raise a lot more before the end.

"She loves swimming," said Abby, a social worker, "and this challenge has made her feel quite proud."

Swimming is the only time that Amelie needs to take off her pump, which is slightly smaller than a mobile phone, as the equipment is not waterproof.

The family, who live in Kingston, have learned to cope with Amelie’s daily routine. Doctors believe a viral attack on her pancreas led to her developing the condition.

Amelie has to check her blood up to eight times a day to ensure her blood-glucose level does not drop too low, which can lead to a potentially dangerous hypo.

"She has hypos pretty much every day, but they are not too severe, and we always catch them in time. Amelie’s body doesn’t produce any insulin at all."

She has a special gluco juice on hand at all times if she feels a hypo coming on and her body needs a boost. Amelie has become expert at reading the signs when one is developing.

"It is a terribly complicated illness, but it doesn’t stop her from doing anything," said Abby.

While there is currently no cure for the condition, the family are hopeful that increasing research will one day find a solution which will offer hope to Amelie and others like her. In Grampian there are a growing number of young people being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Abby went on: "Amelie was on a waiting list for a year before she got the pump. She was scared at first and didn’t want to use it."

Amelie has adapted well to the pump, however, and scarcely gives it a second thought now.

Amelie, her mum and dad, who teaches film-making at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, go swimming two or three times a week, and are confident of hitting their target.

Said Amelie: "I am doing this because I would like to raise money to cure diabetes and help boys and girls like me."

Amelie has an online sponsorship page where people can make a donation to her charity effort. Visit the website at www.justgiving.com/Amelieroger

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