East Antrim MLA Cheryl Brownlee to host 'Dip for Diabetes' in Carrickfergus

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An East Antrim politician has told of the “shock” she felt when her young son was diagnosed with diabetes as she prepares for a charity fundraiser in Carrickfergus.

DUP MLA Cheryl Brownlee will be hosting the ‘Dip for Diabetes’ on Saturday, June 15 at 11am to mark Diabetes Week 2024 (June 10-16).

Starting at her constituency office at 1c Castle Street in the town, participants will be taking to Belfast Lough, just beside Carrickfergus Castle for a mass sea dip to raise as much money as possible for Diabetes UK.

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Cheryl’s young son Lyle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in November 2023, shortly after she took up her role as an MLA.

DUP MLA Cheryl Brownlee will be hosting the ‘Dip for Diabetes’ on Saturday, June 15 to mark Diabetes Week 2024 (June 10-16).  Photo: NI WorldDUP MLA Cheryl Brownlee will be hosting the ‘Dip for Diabetes’ on Saturday, June 15 to mark Diabetes Week 2024 (June 10-16).  Photo: NI World
DUP MLA Cheryl Brownlee will be hosting the ‘Dip for Diabetes’ on Saturday, June 15 to mark Diabetes Week 2024 (June 10-16). Photo: NI World

At only three years old, Lyle had Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and spent nine nights in the Royal Victoria and Antrim Area hospitals, while the incredible staff worked to get Lyle back to full health and prepared his mum and dad for his new life of four injections a day.

Speaking ahead of the event, Cheryl said: “I never thought my son would have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes - we had no family history and little knowledge of the condition. It was a huge shock when we received the news and I want everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

"No individual is the same - you may experience different symptoms and the symptoms you have may not exactly match that of another person however, the most common symptoms experienced by many people with diabetes are increased thirst, going for a wee a lot, feeling tired and losing weight.

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“If you feel very unwell or your symptoms have come on quickly seek an urgent appointment with your GP or call 999. If you have any diabetes symptoms, it’s important to contact your GP and ask for a blood test for diabetes.”

Cheryl’s young son Lyle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in November 2023, shortly after she took up her role as an MLA.  Photo: NI WorldCheryl’s young son Lyle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in November 2023, shortly after she took up her role as an MLA.  Photo: NI World
Cheryl’s young son Lyle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in November 2023, shortly after she took up her role as an MLA. Photo: NI World
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All funds raised will help to fund vital research that brings life-changing advances a step closer. It ensures that the Diabetes UK Helpline is there with practical advice, information and guidance, delivered by specialist counsellors. It will also help to run community support groups that take away loneliness and isolation.

"Please join me and lets us fight for better diabetes care for everyone affected,” Cheryl added.

Free car parking is available in the Castle car park for the event. Participants can dip in a swimming costume, a wetsuit or whatever they prefer, but are reminded to bring a towel and change of clothes e.g. a hat, gloves, warm socks/boots and a windproof layer.

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Organisers would especially encourage everyone to wear a hat as it will help with preventing heat loss.

"Any sponsorship money that you have collected can be brought with you on the day or alternatively you can donate via our funding link,” Cheryl added.

“The mass dip will take place at exactly 11.15am, so make sure you’re at the beach ready to go by 11am as there will be a brief safety announcement before the dip commences. After the dip we will have tea, coffee and lots of treats to warm you up at 1c Castle Street.”