X-factor star

Amelia Lily shot to fame when she came third in last year’s X Factor competition, and says that, rather than being a hindrance, having diabetes helped her get through. Lily, 18, says: “I believe it helped me, especially through the X Factor, as it taught me to be responsible for myself from a young age. Children in the UK with diabetes are special people. Having diabetes makes us stronger.” Diabetes has certainly not stood in the way of her music career. Lily’s first single ‘You Bring Me Joy’ shot straight into the number two slot in the UK charts and her second, ‘Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got)’ is due out later this year.

Spotting the symptoms

Lily was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged three. She says: “I was lucky. My nana recognised the symptoms because my uncle has Type 1 diabetes. If she had not spotted it I could have become really poorly.” Immediately after the diagnosis her mother was distraught. “She had to pin me down to give me injections several times a day, every day. For a mum that’s a re- ally tough thing to do,” says Lily. Her parents soon came to terms with it and insisted there was no reason for her to feel or be different to other children of her age.

Taking control

“I had diabetes but I had it under control and could do all the things that my friends could,” Lily says. “I have to be more aware about what I eat and drink, but I don’t let the condition hold me back.” Now Lily is keen to spread awareness about the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes in children. “My symptoms were drinking a lot more than normal, going to the toilet a lot and mood swings,” says Lily, “but the other common symptoms are losing weight and feeling tired.” She is supporting Diabetes UK Four Ts campaign, which aims to alert parents, teachers and carers to the four Ts: Toilet, Thirsty, Tired and Thinner. The symptoms are explained in the video ‘Type 1 Awareness’ produced by Diabetes UK and JDRF.