Eventer’s desperate appeal for life-changing medical tech

  • An amateur eventer has launched a desperate appeal for support as she tries to fund a life-changing glucose control monitor.

    Emma Klijn, 35, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 13, has two days left of a crowd-funding campaign set up to raise the £2,500 target for the monitor, which is not currently available on the NHS in Bristol.

    The monitor, which costs £200 a month to rent, allows users to have control over their blood glucose count without the need for finger-prick tests. Emma hopes to raise £2,500 to fund the machine for one year.

    Emma, a physiotherapist, told H&H: “Having type 1 diabetes is a full time job, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. People know diabetics and think they look quite normal, we don’t look like we have a disability, but there is a lot going on in the background.

    “Even if I want to go on a hack I need to do a finger-prick test and take my blood testing kit with me. By the end of an hour and a half hack, my blood sugars could be anywhere, they can change that rapidly.”

    Due to complications from diabetes, in 2013 Emma developed problems with her sight. After two years of operations and regular treatment, Emma was told she could lose her vision in five years.

    Emma bought her thoroughbred mare, Milly in 2015 in order to pursue her dream of 1* eventing.

    “I needed to find horses and a positive focus again. I’ve lost a lot of my vision and it’s now like looking through a letterbox. I need to event with dark glasses on,” she said.

    In order for Emma to maintain her health and prolong further damage to her eyes she must continue to carefully monitor her blood sugar. Emma tried the glucose control monitor in June.

    “I try incredibly hard to manage my diabetes but it is difficult. The glucose control monitor is life-changing, it’s given me that sense of control. It has an alarm feature for when my sugars creep too high or when they start to drop low, it’s been brilliant,” Emma said. “I used it competing at British Eventing at Launceton in July and I was bowled over at how amazing my blood sugars were because I had such better feedback going on from the monitor.

    “Even if I don’t reach my crowd-funding target, if I can fund the monitor for three or six months to accrue enough data then my mission is to put pressure on the NHS clinical commissioning group to look at the monitor and help more diabetics involved in sport.”

    Emma said in some areas, the NHS is funding the monitor but “many are not”.

    “I want to combat the NHS postcode lottery in order for them to either fund or at least part-fund the monitor for diabetics,” she said.

    Emma regularly blogs about riding and eventing with diabetes and hopes to raise awareness of the condition and in the future hopes to start a charity .

    “After my blog from Launceton I had five diabetics ask about the monitor. Type 1 diabetes isn’t a walk in the park but I want to show what can be achieved,” she said.

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