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Diabetic singer performs thanks to hi-tech patch – Daily Mail

Standing under the spotlights as she sings a solo at the Royal Albert Hall, Keira Oliver looks like she is set for stardom.

But the 10-year-old aspiring singer is only able to perform thanks to a revolutionary skin patch on her arm which constantly monitors her blood sugar levels.

The patch – the size of a £2 coin – means Keira can take part in two-hour performances without worrying about falling ill from Type 1 diabetes.

10-year-old aspiring singer Keira Oliver was able to perform at the Royal Albert Hall thanks to a revolutionary skin patch which monitors her blood sugar levels

The primary school pupil was diagnosed with the condition when she was just two years old and relies on an insulin pump to survive.

Unlike the more common Type 2 diabetes which can be triggered by poor diet, Type 1 is an autoimmune condition where the pancreas stops producing insulin, meaning glucose in the blood cannot be turned into energy.

Sufferers must constantly monitor their levels and adjust their insulin intake accordingly.

The life-threatening condition means Keira normally has to prick her finger 10 to 15 times a day to check her blood sugar levels – something she hates doing because she is terrified of needles.

But the new FreeStyle Libre patch means she can find out her levels with a quick scan using a smartphone-sized device, without the need for any painful prick tests.

The discrete technology means she has been able to perform in her first full-length production on a London stage without having to be taken off for treatment.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas stops producing insulin which makes it impossible for glucose in the blood to be turned into energy

Her mother Sharon, 42, said the patch – which is not yet available on the NHS – is helping Keira fulfil her dream of becoming a stage star.

‘She just loves to perform,’ she told the Daily Mail. ‘She enjoys everything about being on stage.

‘But before she had the patch I had to sit in the wings and keep dragging her off to do fingerprick tests.

‘It was awkward as there’s a lot of equipment you need and you have to try not to get blood on her costume. It’s difficult for her to have to keep coming on and off stage too.’

Keira, from Ashford in Kent, was ‘devastated’ when she was forced to miss the second half of a performance at the London Palladium three years ago because of her illness and feared she would never be able to take part in a full show.

So Miss Oliver, a former occupational therapist, read about the new technology online and sent off for it in the hope it would help.

Keira was ecstatic to be picked to perform a solo at her stage school Theatretrain’s How To Make A Hero! show at the Royal Albert Hall in September.

Her mother said: ‘She had the scanner hidden in a pocket of her costume and she was able to quickly and discretely scan.

‘There wasn’t all the drama of having to go on and off stage and no finger prick tests. It really helped with her performing.’

Keira, who also acts, dances and is a Brownie, has gained so much confidence she has now landed a part as an extra in an upcoming Hollywood movie filmed in the UK.

She calls the device her ‘Bleepy’ after the sound it makes and said it is ‘really cool’.

Type 1 diabetes sufferers have to monitor their glucose levels by drawing a small amount of blood ten to 15 times a day

‘It would be really hard to go on stage without it,’ she said. ‘It makes it way easier.

‘I want to be a singer and it would be amazing if I was a big star like Adele but I don’t mind if I’m not because I just love singing.’

The patch lasts two weeks at a time and costs £48 each time. It can be scanned with a smartphone or a purpose-built scanner using contactless technology.

It is not available on the NHS but its manufacturer Abbott has applied for it to be listed on the England and Wales drug tariff – which would mean it could be prescribed by GPs and specialists free of charge.

But the Department of Health said it needed to be checked for safety, quality and cost effectiveness before a decision could be made.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition, affecting 400,000 people in the UK, for which there is no cure. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of nine and 14, but diagnosis can be as late as 40.

Around 10 per cent of adults with diabetes have this form of the condition but the majority have Type 2.

Source: Diabetic singer performs thanks to hi-tech patch – Daily Mail


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