A TEENAGER with severe diabetes has taken up a life-saving hobby – keeping bees and harvesting honey that could save him from a coma.
Adam Dawson expertly looks after a colony of 600,000 bees across two hives – and relies on the honey he harvests to stop him slipping into a diabetic coma.
The 16-year-old has Type 1 diabetes, which means his blood sugar levels can fall dramatically (hypoglycaemia) requiring an instant hit of glucose to quickly raise them again.
Adam, from Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, has such a severe case of diabetes that he has had an insulin pump fitted for the past 14 years to regulate his blood sugar levels.
He said: “It’s really dangerous for me to go hypo because my brain shuts down and it tells me not to eat.
“That’s why it’s vital to have something nearby – like my honey – which I can take really quickly.
“It doesn’t feel like eating and it is absorbed really easily.”
As a toddler, Adam almost died after hospital doctors failed to diagnose his condition and he spent a week in a coma.
To counteract this his mum, Patricia, made sure he had a spoonful of honey each morning to restart his body.
Patricia, 46, said: “Adam’s blood levels can fall really low and he needs a quick hit of sugar to bring him back up.
“It’s perfect to have at the back of the cupboard to bring out.”
Adam has been keeping the yellow and black insects for the past five years after helping out his 71-year-old grandmother, Ann Waldock, who has been an avid beekeeper for 35 years.
Of course, he doesn’t eat all of the harvested honey – he sells the surplus at local farmers markets with his gran.
He said: “I just started this as something to do and I’m doing quite well.
“I’ve won a couple of second places at local competitions but nothing major.
“The money me and my gran make is just enough to cover the costs so I don’t really see this as a career, more a hobby that could save my life.”