Brave Alister's challenge in dad's memory

Alister with his mum Ellen van der Kroon
Alister with his mum Ellen van der Kroon

A determined 11-year-old boy is taking on a sponsorship challenge to support others with the condition that killed his father seven years ago.

Alister van der Kroon, who lives in Market Weighton, is taking on a 12-mile walk through the Wolds to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

Alister and his dad, Gerard

Alister and his dad, Gerard

The Mount Pleasant Primary School pupil lost his father, Gerard van der Kroon, when he was just four-years-old.

Gerard was diagnosed with type one, insulin-dependent diabetes aged 38 and he struggled with the lifestyle changes. The condition took his life just six years after his diagnosis.

After going on a work’s night out on Christmas Eve, in 2009, he failed to turn up for dinner the following day at his mother-in-law’s with his wife and son. He had fallen into a diabetic coma and doctors found evidence of brain damage. After seven days they made the difficult decision to turn off the ventilator keeping him alive on January 2.

Alister’s half-sister was diagnosed aged 11 and his best friend was diagnosed two years ago when he was nine.

Writing on his just giving page, Alister said: “He [Gerard] hated the disease and never understood why he had to live with it."

Mum, Ellen van der Kroon said her late husband struggled with the diagnosis and didn’t get the support he needed to come to terms with the condition.

She spoke to the Pocklington Post following his death hoping others would learn from their tragedy. She said: “I was over the moon to hear from people that it did actually hit home to them when they read the story, so I’m grateful that we possibly helped others too.”

Alister added: “It affects everything they do and their lives will never be the same. Maybe with more research Diabetes UK can prevent diabetes and hopefully find a cure for people who suffer.”

Ellen, who has now remarried to Alison, said: “I’m so proud of him for wanting to raise money for something that affected his life so much even though he is not a diabetic himself.

“He’s growing up to be such a lovely boy, he is a very caring child and he is very protective of me at such a young age.”

The youngster is set to walk 12 miles with his local scout group, which he recently joined, on April 1 and asked if he could try and raise money for Diabetes UK.

Originally wanting to aim for £100, his mum convinced him to up the target to £500 which he surpassed in just two weeks and has reached £700.

Ellen, who co-owns Crown School of Motoring, said: “He has been checking the site every day and he loves it, he’s just thinks it phenomenal.”

Alister also hopes more support will be given to families and partners of people with diabetes.

He also added: “I don’t want other girls and boys to lose their mum, dad, brother or sister like I have. I miss my Papa every day and that’s why I want to raise money to help other families before they go through what I had to.

“It’s been seven years without my Papa and I am now old enough to start making a difference.”

Gerard owned Crown Tyres, in Market Weighton, and Ellen carried on the business until last year. Alister would go out in the van with his dad and Ellen said people who knew Gerard and met Alister as a toddler and have donated.

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