A South Belfast MLA is strapping on his running shoes and tackling the challenge of next year’s London Marathon, all in aid of his diabetic daughter.

Conall McDevitt, who is a leen cyclist, will run the gruelling race, scheduled for April, in order to raise funds for his daughter Clara. The seven-year-old was diagnosed with type one diabetes just over a year ago.

Now the SDLP representative will use the race to attempt to raise as much as possible for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which is attempting to find a cure for the condition.

Conall described the diagnosing of Clara’s diabetes just before Christmas last year as a “new chapter in her life”.

“Aged six she had to come to terms with regular insulin injections and continuous blood testing in order to manage her blood sugar levels,” he said.

“Like every child I know with type one diabetes she has been a profile in courage and has not let this serious condition, which she could have done nothing to prevent herself acquiring, get her down.

“No lifestyle changes will cure her. The only thing that keeps her well is insulin administered by injection. For Clara and the other children who live with type one diabetes a cure is urgently needed.”

According to the JDRF, type one diabetes affects 350,000 people in Ireland and Britain, with over 25,000 of them children. The latest research by the charitable organisation shows the incidence of type one is increasing by four per cent each year, particularly in children under five.

Conall said he would encourage as many people as possible to help him raise money to combat the condition.

“The organisation is dedicated solely to finding a cure to type one diabetes and that’s why I decided to run the marathon for them.

“I’d ask people to please give what they can. Once they donate at my JustGiving page, the company will send your money directly to JDRF and make sure gift aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation.

“So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, while saving time and cutting costs for the charity.”

To help Conall in his fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/ConallMcDevitt.