Newmarket Festival Committee's Christmas gift is just perfect for Alfie, 11
An early Christmas gift has changed the lives of an 11-year-old Newmarket schoolboy and his family.
Alfie Weston-Mann, who lives with his mother Victoria and younger brothers and sister in Wilfred Sherman Close, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was only three years old and since then has lived with a strict regime of finger-prick blood tests up to 20 times in every 24 hours to ensure his blood glucose remains at a safe level.
Dangerous variations in levels have seen Alfie rushed into hospital numerous times, including last Christmas when he spent three days in intensive care in Manchester after his blood sugar level plummeted while the family was visiting relatives.
Now, thanks to charity fundraisers the Newmarket Festival Committee, Alfie has a specialsensor which automatically tests his blood every five minutes throughout the day and night and immediately transmits the results to both his and his mother’s mobile phones, activating an alarm if the figure is at dangerously low or high levels.
Alfie, who is in Year 6 at St Louis Catholic Academy, knows that if the reading is low he must immediately eat or drink some sugar - usually in the form of apple juice or jelly babies - and if it is high he must use his pump to provide more insulin.
“It is amazing,” said Victoria. Alfie can now have much more independence in managing his diabetes. He can also play sports, which he loves, and is able to fine tune his diabetes and get it under control.
“His fingers, which he had to prick for blood tests 15 or 20 times a day, are now much better too. It has changed his life so much. He is happier and I no longer feel I’m constantly nagging him all the time to do the tests,” she added.
An added bonus for single-mum Victoria is that she sometimes gets a whole night’s sleep – an unknown luxury over the past seven years.
“We would like to say a massive thank you to the Festival Committee for buying the sensor for us. They cost £500 and I would never have been able to afford it.
"Unfortunately each one only lasts for about three months but a friend has already raised some money for the next one so we are covered for at least the next six months. After that we may get funding from the NHS if we can convince them of Alfie’s high risk and that it is vital he should have it.”