A DOTING dad has paid a painful tribute to his diabetic daughter – by getting a matching insulin pump tattooed on his side.
Three-year-old Abigail from Chirnside, Scottish Borders, is delighted after her father, Alan, became her “pump twin”.
Alan and his family decided they wanted to do something to mark a year since the youngster was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
The brave tot endures up to 16 blood tests a day to make sure she stays healthy.
Fork lift driver Alan, 38, took Abigal to a tattoo studio across the border in Berwick-upon-Tweed so artists could sketch an exact replica of Abigail’s machine.
The finished tattoo is different only in that Alan opted for a black-coloured pump rather than the bright pink chosen by his daughter.
The tattoo, which includes the cable taking the drug to the needle, is on Alan’s left side, just above the hip, in the same place Abigail usually wears hers.
Alan said: “The shading was fine but the outline was horrendous especially because it was near the hip. But it was worth it to see the smile on my baby girl’s face. I would do it all over again just to see that.
“It shows how proud I am of her and lets her know we’re in this together, every step off the way.
“She’s been playing with the buttons and telling me, ‘Oh daddy you can’t get that wet, no you can’t wash it’.
“But getting it done was nothing to me as it’s my daughter and I wanted to show her that she’s not the only one in the world with this.”
Abigal’s mum, Adele, 34, explained: “She was diagnosed in March last year so we talked about doing something to mark her ‘dia-versary’ – her one year anniversary since she was diagnosed.
“Abigail was so happy and couldn’t stop looking at it and touching it when she saw it.”
Adele said her daughter stayed away from the painful three-hour inking “as we didn’t want her seeing daddy in pain”.
She added: “He was terrified about getting the tattoo and afterwards said his stomach was trembling through it all but Abigail is so proud that daddy has the same pump.”
Abigail was diagnosed after her parents noticed she was looking pale and feeling unwell.
Doctors checked her sugar levels and told her parents to take her to hospital where she was put on a drip to stabilise her energy levels.
After three months of injections she was then given her own insulin belt which she carries around in a nifty Minion holder.
Adele added: “She was very, very unwell and had the four T’s – tiredness, thirsty, tears and toilet. She would constantly been needing the toilet and was lethargic, she just wasn’t herself at all.
“We now do between eight and sixteen tests a day as her levels are very variable especially because of her age.
“She’s three so will want to, say, play on a trampoline for an hour which takes up a lot of energy. She has such good control over it for her age which will only get better as she gets older.
“It’s part of her life and something that she’s always going to have but she’s an absolute superstar.”
Charity Diabetes Scotland praised the family for supporting Abigail in such a fun, unique way.”
Kirsteen Murray, National Director at Diabetes Scotland, said: “Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes is difficult at any age, but if you’re just three years old the experience can be very challenging.
“Every day is a careful balancing act to ensure the condition is managed well and it’s hard work for the family as well.
“It’s wonderful to see a father show support to his young daughter in this fun, unique way. I’m sure Abigail loves that her dad is her insulin pump twin!
“Diabetes is a complex condition and you have to learn a lot very quickly when you are diagnosed.
“Anyone who has any questions or concerns about diabetes, whether affected directly or through a friend or a family member, can contact our Helpline Scotland on 0141 212 8710 or [email protected] for information and support.”