Diabetes hero receives award from PM

Kathryn Cooney with Jonathan Bailie, Nicola Mc Laughlin, Dylan Bailie and Nathan Bailie.
Kathryn Cooney with Jonathan Bailie, Nicola Mc Laughlin, Dylan Bailie and Nathan Bailie.

A local Lisburn hero who used Facebook to help hundreds of parents struggling to come to terms with their child’s diabetes is to get an award from the Prime Minister.

Kathryn Cooney, a Diabetes UK Service Champion, who works tirelessly to increase support in the community has become the winner of a new volunteering award - a Point of Light award by David Cameron.

Kathryn, has spent hundreds of hours reaching out to parents of children living with Type 1 diabetes over Facebook and e-mail.

The Point of Light award, recognises outstanding individuals who are having a positive impact in their community.

Kathryn got involved with Diabetes UK after her daughter Sarah became critically ill with Type 1 diabetes in 2008, almost dying as her blood glucose rose to life threatening levels.

Kathryn began volunteering for Diabetes UK where she is now a Service Champion.

She has been instrumental in setting up a new Facebook support group, and also arranges to meet families as often as needed, when they need support.

In 2012 Kathryn was successful in helping reduce waiting times in some Health Trusts for children needing insulin pumps to fewer than six months.

She also sits on local care user panels and organises family days for people affected by Diabetes.

Prime Minister David Cameron praised the Lisburn woman, “Having a child diagnosed with Diabetes can be heart-breaking.

“Parents naturally have lots of questions and can feel uncertain and alone. Kathryn has been instrumental in working with parents online and in person to show them that it is possible to live well with diabetes. She is an amazing pillar of the community and a real inspiration.

“I am pleased to give this UK Point of Light to Kathryn in recognition of her remarkable achievements.”

Kathryn is the eighty-seventh winner of the new Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. When receiving the award, Kathryn said: “I am thrilled to have received the Point of Light award for doing something I feel so passionately about.

“I think it is so important that families get together to share experiences of living with Type 1 diabetes helping parents, children with type 1 and their siblings feel supported.”