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Nine-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes receives apology after cinema confiscated his water bottle

An Irish cinema has apologised to a nine-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes after preventing him from bringing water into a film screening.

Arc Cinema, Drogheda, issued the apology on Sunday 19 July after Bryan Keelan’s father, Bryan Snr, expressed his frustration in a Facebook post.

Mr. Keelan explained that his son and Jean, Bryan Jnr’s mother, had arrived at the cinema with a friend of his son’s on Friday 17 July.

After Jean bought Bryan Jnr’s friend a bucket of popcorn, they were refused entry to the film because Bryan Jnr had brought a bottle of water from home.

As anyone with diabetes will attest to, having high blood glucose levels makes you thirsty. This is because the body tries to remove excess sugar through urine and requires fluids to rehydrate.

Bringing your own water to places such as cinema is a decision that all people with diabetes are entitled to make, in case of high blood sugars, especially given how much a bottle of water would cost.

Jean reportedly showed cinema staff her son’s diabetic identification, but the bottle was still removed and she was advised that water should be bought from the cinema.

After deciding to see the film, Bryan Jnr “burst out crying” upon getting home, according to his father. The family then made a formal complaint against the cinema.

Bryan Jnr was only diagnosed with type 1 three months ago, and this incident is all the more sickening as it was designed to be a fun day out.

“Bryan was so excited to be heading to the cinema purely because with his condition he doesn’t get other treats like sweets, crisps soft drinks etc so we had just given Bryan a bottle of water and nothing else because obviously he can’t have the goods that the ‘ARC’ cinema in the Drogheda town centre would have to offer for sale,” said Mr. Keelan.

Arc Cinema issued this apology on their Facebook page.

The management and staff of the ARC Cinema would like to publicly apologise to the Keelan family for any hurt and upset…

Posted by Arc Cinema Drogheda on Sunday, 19 July 2015

This “misunderstanding” that Arc Cinema refers to is quite simply, a lack of diabetes awareness.

One could argue that maybe if diabetes had not been broached by a customer before, the staff may not have known what to do. Therefore, they followed company policy, and prohibited an item being brought from home.

But one could also argue that the cinema staff flagrantly ignored Bryan Jnr’s condition at the expense of trying to procure more money from the Keelan family.

In likelihood, this event was due to the ignorance of the cinema staff who failed to understand or grasp the severity and complexities of diabetes.

Mr. Keelan’s post currently has over 12,600 shares on Facebook, and is a tremendous example of why diabetes awareness needs to be increased. Inevitably, many people with diabetes will face discrimination but to avoid making a fuss, will not highlight the wrongdoers.

The apology from Arc Cinema does not atone for the treatment of Bryan Jnr, but hopefully his father’s account will lead to future incidences such as this being prevented.

Have you, or anyone you know, even been discriminated against because of your diabetes? Have you ever been prevented from taking essential supplies somewhere? Share your stories in the comments section below.

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