Community Magazine Charities - Spring 2017

On The Lookout

Jeff Vorva 2017-03-03 01:26:32

JDRF works to educate the public on Type 1 diabetes Some people believe they are healthy as horses, work out like fiends and run marathons or lift 500 pounds. However, here is a sobering message: Those people are at the same risk of getting Type 1 diabetes as the not-so-fit folks who consider a short walk quality exercise. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t care who it attacks. It can be a model, movie star, athlete or couch potato. The Illinois Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is spending most of spring and summer preparing for huge fall and winter events, and during this relative down time, the group is trying to get the word out to as many people as possible that Type 1 diabetes is not just affecting juveniles any more. According to Illinois JDRF Director of Corporate and Marketing Partnerships Dana Snodgrass, 1.25 million people have Type 1, and it’s not just kids. “Unfortunately, it’s a growing disease and there is nothing you can do to prevent it,” she says. “It’s not like it’s caused by you eating unhealthy foods or you are not exercising or you are overweight. You are born with it and you can be diagnosed with it at any age. “Now people are being diagnosed when they are 30, 40 and 50 years old. In the past, if you were an adult with Diabetes, you were diagnosed as Type 2. But now, more people are finding out it’s actually Type 1. You might be 50 years old, but for some reason, your body just stopped producing insulin. You had it all along.’’ Snodgrass says if it’s not diagnosed, the worst-case scenario could be a diabetic coma that can result in death. “If you see someone, you might not be able to tell they even have it,” she says. “It’s something you have the rest of your life and it’s difficult to maintain. I don’t think enough people know about it.’’ Another project for JDRF is the yearlong Bag of Hope program in which kids who are diagnosed with Type 1 learn about how to live with the disease. A teddy bear with Diabetes, Rufus, helps to get children through this ordeal. “There are books, measuring cups and a lot of other resources for children with Type 1,” Snodgrass says. “In Illinois, we partner with hospitals and physician’s offices, and children and parents receive these Bags of Hope. It helps them after their first couple of days. “Once you are diagnosed, your entire life changes. You have to learn what you can eat and when you can eat it, how to give yourself injections, monitoring your blood. You are usually in the hospital for three days and you have all the resources there. Then you go home and all of this becomes the new normal. It’s earth-shattering. This bag is for the kids and parents to walk them through what needs to be done now that they are out of the hospital.’’ Later in the year, JDRF will host walks on September 24 and October 1 that will celebrate the event's 38th year and, in the past, have attracted 30,000- 32,000 people per year. If you see someone, you might not be able to tell they even have it. It’s something you have the rest of your life and it’s difficult to maintain. I don’t think enough people know about it. DANA SNODGRASS, JDRF DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND MARKETING PARTNERSHIPS

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