Children with type 1 diabetes from around the Barrow area received a masterclass in managing the condition from Barrow AFC captain Niall Canavan. 

Niall, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2019 at the age of 27, talked to the group of young footballers at a special event held recently at the club’s Holker Street ground. 

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce the hormone insulin, which controls glucose levels in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is not linked with age or being overweight, and can develop at any age. 

During the visit to the club, Niall talked to young footballers about how he manages his condition, and gave tips and advice on playing sport as a person with diabetes. 

He also talked about the importance of support from family and friends and told children not to be embarrassed if they experience a ‘hypo’ (where blood sugar drops too low) while playing sport. 

He said: “Having diabetes is not the barrier that it used to be. You might get things wrong sometimes, but through trial and error you’ll rectify those mistakes. 

The visit was organised for young people cared for at Furness General Hospital through a partnership between Barrow AFC, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, and Bay Hospitals Charity. Guests had chance to meet Niall and get his autograph, and also received complimentary match tickets.  

Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse Kerry Hodson said: “It was wonderful of Niall to take the time out to talk to children and parents about diabetes and how he manages his condition. 

“Niall is a great example of someone who has been able to continue playing sport at a professional level despite developing diabetes, and I hope the visit will inspire and reassure the young people and their families who were able to attend.” 

Bay Hospitals Charity Head of Charities and Fundraising Suzanne Lofthouse said: “It was fascinating to hear Niall talk about how he manages his diet and his insulin. 

“Staying fit and active is such an important part of maintaining our general health, and Niall is an excellent role model for young people by not letting diabetes hold him back.” 

Bay Hospitals Charity funds the latest equipment for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to help make patients more comfortable and ensure they get the best possible care and treatment. 

To donate and support your local NHS hospital, contact Bay Hospitals Charity on 01524 516064 or email [email protected] 

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