A shock diagnosis has prompted a little girl's family to urge others to be aware of the symptoms of a potentially fatal condition.
Abbie Wright's parents spoke out after discovering the youngster was only hours from death after she slipped into a diabetic coma.
The seven-year-old's mum and dad now want to raise awareness of the condition to help other parents spot the signs of the debilitating illness.
Melanie Wright, from Calverley Road, Thorntree, Middlesbrough, said: "Everybody knows what the signs for meningitis are, but no one knows how to spot diabetes and it is just as dangerous.
"We had no idea Abbie had diabetes and have been told if she hadn't have gone to hospital that night she would not be with us now."
Abbie's illness first struck on Monday, January 26. Over the next four days she began vomiting, having stomach pains, sleeping and drinking more than usual and passed a lot of fluids, but was told by a GP that it was a virus.
By the Friday morning, Abbie looked gaunt, pale, was weak and crying in pain. Again it was diagnosed as a virus.
But by that night her conditioned worsened and the emergency doctor called.
"He took one look at her and called an ambulance," said Mrs Wright.
"She was almost unconscious when she was taken in. The doctors and nurses were all working on her. They were marvellous in James Cook University Hospital. I have nothing but praise for them.
"She was drifting in and out of consciousness until the Sunday when she suddenly picked up. It was terrible seeing her like that, knowing there was nothing we could do."
No reason was given as to how Abbie developed the illness.
At the time she had just been weaned off medication for epilepsy, which she had been taking since she was aged one.
She is now back home with brothers Joe, aged two, and nine-week-old Kai and is trying to get used to life without her favourite treats.
Abbie, who checks her blood four times daily and prepares her own insulin, said: "I miss jelly, chocolate and yogurt and was sad last week when my friends had ice cream and I couldn't. But for Easter I'm getting a little egg and a present instead of a big egg.
"I loved all the nurses in the hospital, but I was excited when I was coming out so I could see my little brothers again."
Mrs Wright said: "Abbie has never let anything get her down. She is dealing well with the diabetes and we have a lot of support from our family and the hospital.
"But not many people realise the seriousness of it and need to know the symptoms so they are not left in a life-threatening situation like Abbie was."
* Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, from sugar and other sweet foods and from the liver, which makes glucose.
* Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin dependent diabetes, develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. It is treated by insulin injections, diet and regular exercise.
* Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.
* The main symptoms of untreated diabetes are increased thirst, going to the toilet all the time - especially at night - extreme tiredness, weight loss, genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, and blurred vision.
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