Colchester United Community Foundation are pleased to confirm September’s Community Champion – Matthew Clarke! Matt has been in the local news recently thanks to his work in setting up a Type 1 Diabetes Football Team, inspired by his son’s diagnosis with the condition.
Speaking of how the idea came together and grew, Matt told us,
“My son Keiarno was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes age 3, as Keiarno's mum noticed Keiarno's eating and drinking habits wasn't normal.”
Doctor’s soon discovered that Keiarno’s sugar levels were very high and so he was treated in hospital with insulin and was required to stay in for 4 nights.
“Having a child who is diabetic is a scary experience. I had to stay strong for my family but inside I was crumbling, I gave up work for a year to support my family at the lowest point of our lives, I couldn't see the end of the tunnel. “
“Type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 job, me and Keiarno's mum work hard day and night monitoring his levels. Now Keiarno is older he doesn't know life without diabetes. He’s on an insulin pump which is attached to him 24/7, which I’ve now taught him to use, since he started high school a week ago. He has coped very well we are proud of him.”
Keiarno has previously represented Colchester United Community Foundation as a goalkeeper, something he has loved doing since the age of 5, as well as playing for various grassroots clubs.
“I’ve had loads of support for the team – Essex FA, Colchester District Youth Football Team and even organisations offering to sponsor us, such as Diabetes UK, Result Clothing and JDRF, as well as support from former professional players, including Gary Mabbutt (who is also Type 1 Diabetic), and Ben Coker, who takes training with us when he’s available. Others have been great too.
“On social media, I’ve had offers to open up more T1DFC and also merge with current teams. I have an active GoFundMe page which raised £1250 that has paid for relevant courses for me, training equipment and pitch hire.”
To donate to T1DFC’s GoFundMe, and support their journey, donations can be made using https://gofund.me/a70404e8
If you know a member of the community that should be celebrated as our Community Champion, please email email@example.com.