A father who said his “world was turned upside down” when his son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is launching a football team for children affected by the condition.

Matthew Clarke, who lives in Colchester, is the proud dad of 11-year-old Keiarno, who was three when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after a period of waking up in the night desperately thirsty and hungry.

Fast-forward to the present day and Matthew is looking for four more players to complete his T1DFC football team, with some of the funds raised going to diabetes organisations.

The idea came to him after he had a dream that he was awarded a Pride of Britain award for setting up a youth football team for children with diabetes.

Keiarno, the 11-year-old football star who happens to have type 1 diabetes
Keiarno, the 11-year-old football star who happens to have type 1 diabetes

It made perfect sense to make the dream become a reality as Keiarno is a football mad goalkeeper who has played for Colchester United Development and the Chelsea Foundation.

Funds raised by T1DFC will help to run the club, and there are plans to make donations to JDRF and Diabetes UK at the end of each season.

Matthew said: “I believe this will be the first youth diabetic team in East Anglia, if not the UK.

“The support I’ve received has been fantastic. Professional football Ben Coker and former pro Jon-sel Gourkan, who both have Type 1 diabetes, have offered their support and I’ve also heard from ex-Spurs and England player, Gary Mabbutt.

“It’s also been brilliant for Keiarno who is now part of a community of other children with diabetes or who are affected by the condition.”

Keiarno's father, Matthew Clarke: "I believe this will be the first youth [type 1] diabetic team in Easy Anglia"
Keiarno’s father, Matthew Clarke: “I believe this will be the first youth [type 1] diabetic team in East Anglia”

The club’s GoFundMe page has already raised over £1,000 for training equipment, relevant courses and other things needed to officially launch the club.

T1DFC will train on Saturdays at the University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester. Anyone with children who are interested in joining the team should email [email protected].

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