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10-year old duo from Swansea receives award for inspiring book

A pair of 10-year-old budding authors have had their efforts to raise awareness of diabetes recognised with a Diabetes UK Inspire Award.

Katie Courtney, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease in June 2017, and her friend Ava Morgan were awarded the Diabetes UK Cymru Young People’s Outstanding Contribution Award.

Last year, the two friends were inspired to create their book, ‘Hypo Dino’, to help explain parts of Katie’s condition, after a local author visited their school. Katie wrote the words, while Ava was responsible for illustrations.  But when Katie took the picture book to one of her Clinic appointments, her diabetes team asked if she would be willing to share it with other children in Wales. The Children and Young People’s Wales Diabetes Network, CYPWDN, then printed the book in English and Welsh and it is now used by all Paediatric Diabetes Teams in Wales.

Diabetes UK Cymru surprised Katie and Ava with the Inspire Awards and art sets to help them continue writing and drawing books.

Credit: Diabetes Cymru UK

‘Hypo Dino’ tells the story of Tim, a heroic dinosaur who develops type 1 Diabetes and learns to cope with it while fighting a villain. “Tim is not just a dinosaur, he is a dinosaur spy,” explains Katie. “And he also has Type 1 Diabetes. Sometimes on a mission he has a hypo which stops him from battling his enemy, the evil Doctor Nocter.”

Earlier in the year, Diabetes UK Cymru presented Katie and Ava with the Elizabeth Evans Hughes medal that celebrates the achievements of children living with diabetes. Katie said: “I felt very surprised to win another award. When we wrote the book we did it for fun and didn’t expect so many people to read it. I’m glad that Hypo Dino is helping to raise awareness of type 1 Diabetes, and that it might help children when they first get diagnosed.”

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Katie and Ava have raised awareness of Diabetes at their school with the teaching staff and their fellow pupils and their friendship has grown.

Jon Matthias, manager of the Children and Young People’s Wales Diabetes Network said: “It’s truly inspirational to see the impact of this book and to have materials produced by children for children.”

Jon has also himself received an Inspire Award from Diabetes UK Cymru for Campaigning and Influencing Change, in recognition of his work in bringing together health care professionals, third sector organisations and families of children and young people with diabetes. Diabetes UK Cymru works closely with this network and other partners to ensure more children are diagnosed early and safely, that they and their families get the support they need to manage the condition, and that quality of care is improved and maintained.

Copies of ‘Hypo Dino’ can also be requested from the Children and Young People’s Wales Diabetes Network by emailing [email protected]

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