Parents of tragic Irish schoolgirl, 11, release heartbreaking statement after her death from undiagnosed diabetes
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Parents of tragic Irish schoolgirl, 11, release heartbreaking statement after her death from undiagnosed diabetes

THE heartbroken parents of an Irish schoolgirl who died suddenly this week after unknowingly developing Type 1 diabetes have said she was "extremely loved and will be greatly missed".

Maddy-Leigh Harbinson, 11, from Lurgan in Co. Armagh, passed away at the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday after falling ill over the weekend.

In an emotional statement on Wednesday night, Maddy-Leigh's devastated parents Colin Harbinson and Sabrina (nee McComb) said their daughter had died from multiple organ failure caused by her undiagnosed condition.

"It is with profound sadness that Sabrina and Colin Harbinson mourn the sudden loss of their daughter, Maddy-Leigh, aged 11," the statement read.

"She is survived by her only brother, Tristen. Maddy-Leigh passed away in the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday.

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"Maddy-Leigh unknowingly developed Type 1 diabetes that resulted in multiple organ failure.

"She was a pupil in Year 8 at Lismore Comprehensive School. She was a bright, pleasant girl who enjoyed baking, drama and attended FADD for dancing along with singing coaching.

"Maddy-Leigh was extremely loved and will be greatly missed, such was the bond as a daughter, granddaughter, god-daughter, cousin and niece.

"Sabrina and Colin would like to thank the NI ambulance service, Craigavon Area Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children Intensive Care Unit, St Anthony's Parish Craigavon, the surrounding parishes of Lurgan, Lismore Comprehensive School, Newmills Presbyterian Church, FADD and the family and friends who have prayed and supported them through this difficult and tragic time."

The tragic youngster's school previously shared their shock at her sudden passing.

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Lismore Comprehensive School said on social media on Tuesday: "As a school community we are saddened to learn of the death of one of our Year 8 students, Maddy-Leigh Harbinson.

"Maddy-Leigh passed away yesterday suddenly but peacefully at Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Harbinson family and Maddy-Leigh’s friends at this time."

The two primary schools Maddy-Leigh previously attended also took to Facebook to share their condolences.

St Anthony’s Primary School in Craigavon said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and pupils of Lismore Comprehensive School on the death of our past pupil Maddy-Leigh Harbinson. Staff and the whole school community remember her with great fondness. We offer our sincere condolences and prayers to her family."

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Carrick Primary School in Lurgan added: "Maddy-Leigh was a pupil at Carrick Primary School until P4 and staff remember her with great fondness. We offer our sincere condolences and prayers to her family."

Last year, Maddy-Leigh raised £200 for Action MS - a multiple sclerosis charity in Northern Ireland - and was recently presented with a plaque for her outstanding contribution.

A spokesperson for the charity said the organisation was heartbroken by news of her death.

They added: "It is with great sadness that we at Action MS have learned of the sudden passing of Maddy-Leigh Harbinson.

"Our sincere thoughts and prayers to all her friends, family, pupils and staff at Lismore Comprehensive School, Craigavon.

"We were delighted that Maddy-Leigh attended our recent Thank You Luncheon for the Walk for MS and was presented with a plaque for her outstanding contribution to our work. An absolute star."

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Maddy-Leigh's funeral took place at 11.15am on Thursday morning at St Anthony's Church, Craigavon.