Ben travels to Westminster to raise awareness of diabetes danger

Wednesday 22nd June 2016 11:43 am
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Dr Gina Radford, deputy chief medical officer, Chloe Cass, Ben Cass, Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, Lisa Cass, Chris Davies MP ()

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A LLANDRINDOD Wells family has travelled to Westminster to raise awareness of diabetes - after son Ben was rushed to hospital due to the condition.

The Cass family met with health secretary Jeremy Hunt after mum Lisa told Brecon and Radnorshire MP Chris Davies about her son’s ordeal.

She had taken teenager Ben to her local surgery in Llandrindod after he began displaying the four symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, needing to go to the toilet regularly, thirst, tiredness and appearing thinner.

After an examination Ben was sent home and was due to undergo further blood test the following week but the next day he was rushed to Hereford Hospital after suffering a potentially fatal diabetic ketoacidosis.

Ben has since recovered and is now managing his condition well.

His mother then contacted her MP as she was concerned that very little information is available on Type 1 diabetes and awareness of the condition is low.

The Conservative MP raised Ben’s case and his mum’s concerns in the House of Commons, with health secretary Jeremy Hunt, and requested a meeting.

When the family met with their MP and Mr Hunt this week the cabinet minister told them he sympathised with Ben’s case and that a friend of his was paralysed from the neck down by the condition and sadly passed away recently.

Mrs Cass said: "Having undergone the trauma of almost losing my son to a condition that I knew virtually nothing about, I was and still am determined to raise awareness of the symptoms and seriousness of Type 1 Diabetes and the associated condition, diabetic ketoacidosis, which develops if left undiagnosed.

"It was to this end that I contacted Chris with a view to obtaining his help. I never anticipated that my concerns would be elevated to a meeting with the health minister in Westminster. The meeting enabled me to voice my concerns regarding the lack of publicity that this life-changing condition has and discuss how public awareness of the symptoms could be raised, and it was wonderful to be listened to and feel that this matter was going to be taken seriously at such a high level.

"I cannot thank Chris enough for his help in facilitating this meeting and hopefully this will be the beginning for raising the awareness needed."

Mr Hunt promised to do all he can to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and will push Public Health England to look carefully at what more it can do to promote awareness of the condition.

Mr Davies said he would work with Mr Hunt, and ministers in the Welsh Government which has responsibility for health promotion.

He said: "It was my pleasure to bring Lisa, her daughter, Chloe and her son, Ben to Westminster to meet with the Secretary of State. Type 1 diabetes was something I knew very little about before Lisa got in touch and I was moved by Ben’s case.

"As a father of two young girls myself, I feel parents are not given enough information on Type 1 diabetes and awareness of the condition in the public at large is too low.

"I am grateful to Jeremy Hunt for taking the time to meet with Lisa, Ben, Chloe and I and I look forward to working with him, and ministers in Cardiff Bay to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes. It is my hope that in the future all those with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed before they face the same ordeal that Ben did, and raising awareness is a key way to ensure this happens.

"Finally, a big ‘thank you’ to Ben, Lisa and Chloe for coming and for being so confident raising the issue with the Secretary of State. I am confident that Lisa, Ben and Chloe made an impact on the health secretary and he will do all he can to help."

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