This year, Alice Halstead has reached the tenth anniversary of her diagnosis with diabetes. During this time, complications meant that Alice spent three continuous years in hospital and at one point was told it was unlikely she’d reach her 18th birthday. Now, however, Alice is going from strength to strength and has decided to take on ten things that she never thought she’d be able to do.
For Alice, there have been a huge number of things she was not able to achieve because of the potentially life threatening disease but now wants to take on after being allowed home and returning to a more “normal” life – a normality which Alice points out is “a roller coaster of blood sugar monitoring – hourly or more frequently – every day and night just to keep alive, living with a notoriously difficult, sometimes demoralising and relentless burden of responsibility that is thrown upon you through no fault of your own“.
The first of Alice’s ten challenges was her GCSEs, eight years later than originally planned which will be followed with the daunting experience of attaining a part time job.
As well as these “day-to-day” items on her list, Alice is also committed to fundraising for two charities which have become very close to her heart throughout her fundraising; Medical Detection Dogs and Rays of Sunshine. Ideas for fundraising so far include a skydive, which she will be undertaking with three friends in coming months, and a ball which Alice will organise to raise funds and awareness.
Rays of Sunshine is a charity which grants wishes to very ill children. Alice says that once she made her wish with the charity and was advised that it would come true once she was stronger, it gave her something to focus on. Two years later, Alice’s wish was granted and she was whisked off to London to see The Lion King, with two nurses to monitor her at all times. The charity made this possible by organising the event from start to finish. Together with her family and friends, Alice has helped to raise over £60,000 for Rays of Sunshine and in 2010, became Special Ambassador and Wish Coordinator for the charity.
On the 31st October 2011, Holly, the Medical Detection Dog arrived and completely transformed Alice’s life. Alice says that within weeks of Holly’s arrival, she began to recognise and alert both high and low blood sugars. “She alerts me by licking my hand forcefully and going to fetch the kit and bringing it back to me. I still remember the first time Holly came and alerted me while I sat on the sofa completely oblivious that my blood sugar was crashing into dangerous levels – she saved my life with a simple sniff!”
How you can help
You can support Alice’s fundraising for these two causes by donating to her Someone Special page.