CHILDREN with diabetes are reaping the benefits of a doctor's remarkable fundraising campaign to provide them with the best treatment available.

Dr Bill Lamb says he will continue to raise money until all the children in his care who need an insulin pump have one - no matter how long it takes.

The pump provides a constant trickle of insulin through a needle inserted under the skin, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels.

It takes away the need for multiple daily injections, reduces the risk of hypoglycaemic attacks and also reduces the risk of long-term complications.

But the pumps are expensive, costing £2,500 to buy and £1,000 a year to run, and health authorities in County Durham have made no commitment to support their provision for children.

Unable to wait, Dr Lamb, a consultant paediatrician at Bishop Auckland General Hospital, pledged to run 500 miles in his spare time to raise the money.

But the campaign took off to such an extent that he has so far completed 1,200 miles and his cause has attracted sponsorship from a number sources.

More than £20,000 has now been collected, with another £15,000 pledged, allowing Dr Lamb to start supplying some of his patients with the life-changing equipment.

Four children have now received insulin pumps, a fifth is to start the treatment on Monday and four more will be ready to start very soon.

Dr Lamb said the pumps had proved a great success for the children using them.

"Their lives have been transformed by it," he said.

"I'm absolutely chuffed to bits at the response from the public and others to the appeal.

"The fact that we've raised so much money so these kids can start on the pumps is absolutely fabulous - that's the most important thing."

Dr Lamb, whose next events are the Redcar half-marathon and the Lyke Wake Run, has written to Secretary of State for Health Dr John Reid in an effort to end the funding situation which has forced him to take matters into his own hands.

But he added: "I will keep on running for as long as there are kids who need pumps."

* For information on the campaign, visit

Harry gets a sporting chance . . .

HARRY Thomson's life has been transformed since he started using an insulin pump shortly before Christmas.

The 12-year-old, from Little Stainton, near Darlington, used to have to inject himself at least twice a day and undergo blood tests as many as five times a day.

Because of his condition, Harry used to suffer hypoglycaemic attacks as many as three times a day.

He said: "I felt sick and it was just like having flu really. I got tired, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and go to sleep. You can't really move and everything starts spinning around."

Harry is a keen sportsman and particularly likes horse-riding, but his condition meant he had to be very careful when taking part in competitions.

Now he is using a pump, Harry is able to control his condition much better and hopes he will never have to go back to regular injections.

He said: "It's made a difference to me because I feel a lot healthier. I hardly ever go hypoglycaemic and there's hardly ever any feeling sick.

"My concentration is better at school and I feel better in myself."

Harry's mother, Ann, is full of praise for Dr Bill Lamb's efforts, describing him as "a one in a million consultant".

She said: "His whole life is devoted to his job. When he first got the pump, Harry even had Dr Lamb's home telephone number and there's not many doctors who would do that."

Roxanne's Tale

BEFORE she received an insulin pump, 14-year-old Roxanne Meek could not remember a day when she did not have an injection.

The schoolgirl, from Ferryhill, County Durham, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of two.

Ever since then, she had to have at least two insulin injections a day, rising to four in the past three years.

She had to have meals at regular times, which disrupted her social life, and experienced wide variations in her blood sugar levels, leading to sickness when she was high and dizziness when low.

Roxanne, who attends Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College, said: "I started to get really weary of having to inject all the time.

"I had to have set meals at certain times of the day, which means if I was out with friends I had to leave them to go for food and it was quite hard."

Mother Julie said: "We could tell by her mood swings if she was high or low, even before she did. Now she's much more stable."

For Roxanne, it's the small differences to her life that mean so much, such as being able to have a lie in.

She loves pop music - trips to see Gareth Gates, Westlife and Ronan Keating are planned - but even when she was out late at a concert in the past, she would have had to get up early to eat breakfast.