A 12-year-old girl from New Zealand with type 1 diabetes has swapped birthday presents with charity donations in a bid to find a cure for the condition.
Penny Valentine asked family and friends to make pledges to the children’s charity Cure Kids instead of getting her birthday gifts.
Having lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 22 months, the youngster from Auckland said: “I can’t remember not having diabetes. It’s having to remember to put insulin i, testing my blood glucose and watching my carbs.”
Penny has also set up a fundraising page on the Givealittle website as part of her mission to “cure kids” of the condition and has so far raised $1,270 New Zealand dollars.
She said: “I know what it’s like to live with a chronic condition that has no cure and it’s just not fair. I never get a break from it – not on my birthday, not on Christmas day. Never. But I’m hoping that one day they find a cure.
“I would rather move one step closer to cure than have birthday presents. It’s my wish when I blow out my birthday candles every year.”
As well as raising cash to support diabetes research, Penny is also hoping to encourage others to start fundraising too. She said: “It would be really cool if we did get a bit more and also inspire other kids to do the same thing – help.”
Sarah Valentine, Penny’s mum, said it was a birthday party with a difference. She said: “We talked about the fact that every year, kids blow out the candles and they have a wish. And her top wish would be to get rid of type 1 diabetes or find a cure for everyone.
“Rather than them spend $20 buying another pencil case or another thing that she doesn’t need, we could actually get that money to do something really good.”

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