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How a game-changing pump is helping diabetic Tilly-Rose chase her footballing dream

PUBLISHED: 14:01 20 October 2019

Tilly-Rose Dade is now able to play full football matches thanks to revolutionary insulin pump. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Tilly-Rose Dade is now able to play full football matches thanks to revolutionary insulin pump. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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A revolutionary piece of medical equipment has proven a real game-changer for a football-mad youngster, who is balancing her beloved hobby with type one diabetes.

Tilly-Rose and her mum Samantha Dade. Picutre: Victoria PertusaTilly-Rose and her mum Samantha Dade. Picutre: Victoria Pertusa

Tilly-Rose Dade, a 12-year-old Hellesdon High School pupil was diagnosed with the condition at the age of just four, with it making her young life increasingly challenging.

However, a ground-breaking pump has turned her life around, not only making her day-to-day routine simpler but also meaning she can now comfortably play a full 90 minutes of the game she loves.

Revolutionary medical equipment becomes a game changer for 12 year old Tilly-Rose. Picture: Victoria PertusaRevolutionary medical equipment becomes a game changer for 12 year old Tilly-Rose. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Miss Dade has become one of the first people in the United Kingdom to trial the Minimed 670G system - an automated loop system which reads her blood sugar levels through a monitor and automatically administers insulin when she requires it.

The device has had a huge impact on her life and daily routine, helping her concentrate better at school, sleep through the night easier and - most importantly from her perspective - play football with much greater ease.

Tilly-Rose Dade with her dogs Sparky and Maisie. Picture: Victoria PertusaTilly-Rose Dade with her dogs Sparky and Maisie. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

She said: "It's been really brilliant for me. In the past when I played, if my blood levels were too high or low it would really affect me on the pitch. I would have to come off every ten minutes or have to keep taking drinks - it was frustrating.

"But now, I feel comfortable playing a whole game, which is brilliant."

Samantha Dade and Tilly-Rose Dade measuring her insulin levels. Picture: Victoria PertusaSamantha Dade and Tilly-Rose Dade measuring her insulin levels. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

It is not just on the football pitch that it has made a difference though; with the positive impact helping her school and home life.

Samantha Dade, her mother, said: "It really has made a world of difference for us. In the past her levels would really affect her sleep patterns - if she had a bad turn she would wake up in the middle of the night then not be able to get up in the morning and it had a real impact on her.

Tilly-Rose Dade measuring her insulin levels. Picture: Victoria PertusaTilly-Rose Dade measuring her insulin levels. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

"Since she started using the Minimed her performance at school and attendance have approved and she's generally been more confident, safer and happier.

"It has really got things under control for us and has made such a difference."

Mrs Dade now hopes her daughter's story will help others detect the signs of type one diabetes in children, with it still occasionally going undetected.

She told of how the seed was first planted in their minds following a trip to a strawberry patch.

She said: "Tilly was just four when we found out and we never expected it to be what it was - but there were signs.

"She did always have her problems when she was young. At around four she needed to be back in nappies and lost quite a bit of weight.

"She also used to get tired all the time and showed a lot of the symptoms you would associate with diabetes.

"Then one day we went to a strawberry farm, she ate almost a whole punnet and told us that they really made her feel good. It got us thinking 'why would a four-year-old say strawberries make her feel good' - not just that they tasted good."

A few days later and Miss Dade fell unconscious during a car journey, having been drinking a lot of juice that morning.

She was taken to hospital and soon afterwards the family received the news they had been dreading.

Mrs Dade added: "We really want to help spread awareness of the condition and how to spot the system.

"It is remarkable that in this day and with the technology we have that some cases go undetected and people die as a result."

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