Belton family life ‘turned upside down’ with Type 1 diabetes diagnosis and they go on to raise over £3,700 for diabetic team at hospital

Arthur and Jessica Belton (front) along with David Belton and his wife Hilary (centre), and paediatric diabetes team members Paula Olsen, specialist nurse, Anna Groom, specialist practitioner, and Ruth Whymark, specialist dietitian, holding the cheque for £9,675 which has been raised by fundraisers over the past year. Photo: My WiSH Charity.

The paediatric diabetes team at the West Suffolk Hospital celebrated their fundraisers raising an incredible £9,675 over the past year to help them enhance the care they give to their young patients. 

One family heavily involved in the fundraising was the Belton family whose life was “turned upside down” when brave young Arthur Belton was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Along with his parents Tommy and Jessica they all contracted Covid during the pandemic and were admitted to the West Suffolk Hospital.

But during their hospitalisation their son, who is now four years old, was found to have the diabetic illness which changed the family’s “way at looking at life.”

They now have to monitor Arthur’s life in a completely new and dedicated way and have also been responsible, along with his grandparents David and Hilary Belton, in helping to raise money for the My WiSH Charity, which supports the work of the hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

The results of their £3,742.11 fundraising has gone to the paediatric diabetes team, which the charity works closely alongside, to help their young patients as they navigate their diabetes diagnoses and journey.

Donations have been used for trips to Curve Motion, Laser Quest, BMX sessions, Tiddy Wink sessions for younger patients and pizza making. The fun sessions are to help the children meet others with diabetes and to learn they can still do what other children do. And it has also helped to purchase carb counter books and spoon scales.

Tommy, who is a landscape gardener and turf specialist and also the groundsman at Biggleswade Football Club, shaved off his beard in November raising £408.75 towards the fund.

The 40-year-old said: “We all had Covid and ended up in hospital and we were locked in a room where one of the nurses spent a week with us. At one time we had up to seven doctors around us.”

There were concerns about his wife who was pregnant at the time with their daughter Frances, who is now 15 months old, and was named after one of the doctors who treated them.

Jessica, 34, has now become Arthur’s full time carer and Tommy said: “Our life was turned upside down with Arthur’s diagnosis and it changed our way at looking at life.

“But he is doing really well now but we could not have asked for a better team looking after us at the hospital. We never felt alone and we knew they were really busy but they just helped us so much.

“When you understand Type 1 diabetes it’s such a life changer.”

Tommy, who lives with his family in Haverhill, is now planning to carry out more fundraising for the charity including swimming the equivalent of the English Channel, a total of 22 miles.

He also praised My WiSH and the diabetes team for organising gatherings for young patients, their parents and carers where like minded people can chat about their experiences.

Meanwhile, David and Hilary, who live at Elsenham, in Essex, has helped to raise the bulk of the funds with a series of events at Golf World Stansted, where David is a former captain of the club. They included quizzes and music nights and also collected funds at their village fete and a local Christmas bazaar.

He said: “They (the hospital) were so brilliant with Arthur and I can’t praise them enough. They are just wonderful and they all know Arthur whenever we go to the hospital.”

He also praised golf club manager Joanne Mason who helped with the fundraising events.

Paula Olsen, the paediatric diabetes specialist nurse, said: Our parent support group is so valuable as peer support for the young people but also the parents who also often need support. Without these donations our team could not run these very important events. Families would have to supply their own resources to assist with their diabetes which we know can be very tricky.”

Fundraising manage for My WiSH, Sally Daniels, thanked the Beltons and all the other fundraisers saying: “It is always a pleasure to work with the diabetes team because they are so passionate about the care their young people receive. This is reflected in the generous donations received over the year and it’s fantastic to hear the difference these support sessions have made”.

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