A while after Amy was diagnosed I started looking for support to meet up with other families in the same position as us, that’s when I first heard of Seahawks, the South-East Hampshire Families Group. It didn’t really occur to me to join in with something based in Portsmouth, that seemed a long way down the road – it’s 30 minutes! – as surely there would be something more local, there wasn’t.
So whizz forward to one month ago where we all attended a free cookie decorating session run by Seahawks. On walking through the door we immediately became part of a wider extended family, with many of the committee coming to introduce themselves and have a long chat. We all had a great time there, even if Sam did press-gang me into drying up for seemingly hours…I’m joking of course Sam. Amy immediately hit it off with a newly diagnosed girl, N, and we spoke with N’s parents for ages.
Fast-forward again to last Saturday and we attended their education day at the QA Hospital in Portsmouth. I didn’t really expect the event to be as big as it was but there must have been 200 people there. I already knew that the hospital backed Seahawks and everyone who attended the clinic there had been invited and it dawned on me Seahawks is one of a kind, certainly in this area.
With a room full of the key diabetes charities/companies like Bayer, Roche, Medtronic, JDRF and DiabetesUK ready to demo their wares, I spied Helen the rep from Roche/Accu-chek and I went over to get my first look at Roche’s new Aviva Insight insulin pump.
On a table full of leaflets I placed a good few copies of my ‘How social media helps us with Type 1 Diabetes’ leaflet, hoping it might help any parents currently feeling alone.
With Amy being entertained in the kids’ area the day began with an overview of type 1 diabetes by Dr Nalin Wickramasuriya. He spoke in length about the research currently being done all over the world and which one he thought might give the breakthrough. As ever this sort of info was fascinating, if not a little over the head of someone who never did Biology or Chemistry at school.
Next up came two sessions each with four options and which ones we attended:
1 Secondary carers – what you need to know
2 Ups & Downs of Carb Counting– why there are glitches Kev & Amy
3 Thoughts & Feelings
4 Exercise Management/Having Fun Jane
1 Sick day Management DSN Parents
2 Carbs – getting to grips with guestimates
3 Thoughts & Feelings Jane
4 Teenage Years Kev & Amy
All sessions we attended were great and gave us some ideas and knowledge for the future. I never knew for example that the more cooked a jacket potato was the quicker it would release the carbs inside it, especially if microwaved rather than baked. Over ripe bananas release glucose faster too, not that Amy would ever eat one of those.
Networking as these events is always good and it was a delight to see Sue from JDRF South and Daisy from Diabetes UK again. Bumping into N’s Dad again we arranged to meet again soon. At lunch sitting behind a family we overheard a conversation about pumps by a girl who’d never really seen one, so out whips Amy’s pumps followed by her take on wearing and using a pump 24/7, few minutes later the girl had decided she wanted one.
Sadly after lunch we had to fly (literally, blog coming soon) as Amy was doing indoor skydiving for JDRF in the afternoon, so we didn’t get to attend the rest of the day. But what a great event it was and I’d personally like to thank anyone who helped organise the event, you did brilliantly.
I’ve got a feeling we’ll be attending more Seahawks events in the future.