Newstead teenager set to make his Mark in Geneva for UK team

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A TEENAGE diabetic from Newstead will be living the dream next month when he travels to Geneva, Switzerland, to play football, writes Fiona Scott.

Mark Mathison, 13, started playing football when he was eight for Tweedbank Thistle, then Galadean.

It was in August 2008 that he was diagnosed with type one diabetes.

Mark told TheSouthern: “As a family it was hard to get our heads around it all, especially on the football field, as it meant taking a number of blood glucose readings before, during and after the matches.”

Mark now travels to Edinburgh to play for Tynescastle Boys Club under-14s and has played a prominent part in the team. He is also part of the Borders Development Squad.

He added: “We are working closely with the diabetes team at the Borders General Hospital to cope with all the training and matches.”

Playing a match can have an effect on Mark’s condition for up to 24 hours, while he also has to be vigilant during training. He has learned to be aware of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and the importance of eating carbohydrates before and after matches and training.

And, it was after receiving a flyer from Sandra Robertson, a diabetes specialist nurse at the Borders General Hospital, advertising for football players to be selected to play for the team in Geneva, Switzerland, that Mark secured his most recent selection.

Mark’s mum Lesley explained: “We sent a supporting statement and photograph to Junior Diabetes to enter the competition for the Medtronic Junior Cup, and during diabetes week we got a phone call to say Mark had been selected.

“It will be so good to speak to other young people, parents and carers who are going through the same and how they manage diabetes through everyday routine.”

Mark and his family fly out to Geneva on August 26 for three days. There will be doctors and nurses on hand to give advice, which will be good to build Mark’s confidence and understanding of diabetes.

For more information, visit www.jdrf.org.uk