Supporters brave jump for charity

Rockinghorse supporter Lisa Tipton has chosen to mark her 50th Year by taking part in a Skydive in aid of our Sussex Giving for Sussex Children appeal.

Driven by her own experiences of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton and being cared for by Rockinghorse founder Dr Trevor Mann, Lisa shares her story of the motivation behind the challenge, and explains what she’s signed herself up for… (Picture above, Lisa is front row and 5th along)

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or ‘mellitus’ as it was known then in January 1976. I vaguely remember Christmas 1975, I was very poorly, sleeping a lot and very tired. My parents have told me that I was desperately thirsty and was constantly swigging sugary drinks to try and quench my thirst.

My aunt had diabetes and as soon as my mother told her what symptoms I had, she immediately knew what was wrong. She came around the house with her urine testing kit and the results spoke for themselves and I was taken to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, which was then based on Dyke Road in Brighton. I was under the care of Dr Trevor Mann from the start and saw him for many years after my diagnosis – I remember him to be a very gentle man.

I have many memories from my months hospital stay mainly in Taaffe ward. I was only eight-years-old and I remember that I had to do school work, which I wasn’t so fond of! Different coloured play-doh was made daily for us to play with and I still remember playing with an etch-a-sketch. My school class mates all made me homemade cards and I received regular post from all my family. My mum and dad took it in turns to stay with me constantly. There was a lovely Scottish male nurse called Billy who cared for me too and was also a diabetic.

After being discharged, my favourite memory was that my test results were so good that I was taken off insulin for a while. Sadly, it wasn’t the miracle we had hoped for and I was quickly put back onto insulin. In those days only urine was tested and my mum had a ring binder with sheets of my results. We plotted a graph and negative was the result we aimed for, then trace, 1% and then the dreaded 2%. We had to mix drops of my urine with water and a tablet was then dropped in and it depended on what colour appeared as to how much sugar was in my urine. I remember my dad buying me one of the first blood testing meters, it was as big as a brick and cost over £70 which was a lot of money back then!

My diabetes doesn’t hold me back from doing anything, as long as I look after myself, test my blood regularly and attend regular check-ups. I continue to lead a normal life at the age of 50, 42 years after diagnosis. To mark my 50th year I have decided to “take the plunge” and do a sky dive. Who better to do it for than Rockinghorse, who along with also being 50 this year, helped me and their founder Dr Trevor Mann. To support me in my challenge, please sponsor me by clicking here.  Thank you.”

Our thanks to Lisa for sharing her story. To find out more about the projects we’re supporting for our 50th year appeal, Sussex Giving for Sussex Children, please click here.


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