‘Alert dog’ appeal for diabetic Haworth girl

Keighley News: Brooke Kirtley, of Haworth, who is appealing for a diabetic ‘alert dog’ to help her with her health condition Brooke Kirtley, of Haworth, who is appealing for a diabetic ‘alert dog’ to help her with her health condition

A Haworth mum is encouraging people to back a campaign to raise £1,500 to help her diabetic teenage daughter lead as normal a life as possible.

Mandy Kirtley wants to use the money to buy a diabetic alert dog for 16-year-old Brooke, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last October.

The highly-trained canine companions detect when a person’s blood sugar level is too high or low, and warns them to take their medication, helping to avoid serious long-term organ damage.

Brooke, a pupil at Parkside School in Cullingworth, began showing the symptoms of this auto-immune disease while on holiday in Florida.

Since her diagnosis, she has had to medicate herself with injections at least four times a day, and must prick her fingers to test her blood anything up to 15 times a day.

Miss Kirtley, of Butt Lane, checks on her daughter’s blood sugar levels each night at about midnight, and again in the early hours of the morning.

“Brooke has sort of accepted it, and gets on with her life,” she said. “But this affects everything she does.

“There are so many different things that can cause her blood sugar levels to fluctuate – having a shower, what food she eats, being stressed because of exams, cold weather.”

If the sugar levels don’t remain at a safe level, Brooke becomes disorientated, confused or tired.

“Every time the level gets too high it damages Brooke’s body just a little, and the damage can add up,” said Miss Kirtley.

“Over time, these episodes of high blood sugar can add up and have a very damaging effect on her kidneys, eyes, nerves in her feet and heart.”

The family, backed by friends and other supporters, is fund-raising to meet the cost of a diabetic alert dog.

People can go online to goget funding.com/project/a-diabetic-alert-dog-for-brooke-1 to donate.

Miss Kirtley said: “One of these dogs can be trained to alert us when Brooke’s blood sugars are rising and falling, and even wake us up at night if she’s in danger.

“A diabetic alert dog for Brooke would mean peace of mind for her, and will give her the independence and ability to be able to play sports, attend all her dance classes, go to friends’ houses and, most importantly, just be a teenager again.”

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