It's cycling time again! This year it is a family affair though...the whole family is taking to our bikes in support of JDRF. This year we will be riding 100 miles each in an effort to raise awareness and funding for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) research. My wife and I will be riding our miles at the Nashville Ride to Cure Diabetes in September 2013. Our daughter will once again ride her miles over a 9 to 10 week period.
T1D is an autoimmune disease where the body loses the ability to produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. It is a disease that you never outgrow and isn't a result of diet or lack of exercise. As a result, people with T1D require insulin through injections or a pump. Living with diabetes is a constant balance between carbohydrates eaten and insulin given to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
My daughter was diagnosed with T1D at age two. Without the development of synthetic insulin that diagnosis would have been a death sentence. But thanks to research and advancements in medical technology, she is able to live a healthy life by wearing an insulin pump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The pump is an incredible technology, but is a long way from a cure. My daughter still has to count every carbohydrate she eats, change infusion sites every three days (painful!), and we are constantly adjusting insulin levels to keep her balanced.
Some days blood sugar levels are better than others, but she always amazes us with her desire to take responsibility for managing her T1D. In the last couple of months she decided that she wanted to wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to help detect low blood sugars before they get dangerously low. She made this decision knowing that a CGM requires a sensor to be attached to the tissue just under the skin?s surface and changed every 7 days. Pretty amazing for a second grader!
When my daughter was diagnosed we were told there would be a cure in ten years. We've never held much hope that their prediction will become reality. However, five years later we are excited about the treatments that are close to getting to market, in large part due to JDRF. Currently an "Artificial Pancreas" is undergoing clinical trials for patients in, and out, of hospital settings. On the surface an artificial pancreas sounds scary; in reality it's a very advanced insulin pump that monitors blood sugar levels and automatically adjusts insulin delivery. This is essentially what the human pancreas does in people without T1D. An artificial pancreas will relieve the burden of manual blood sugar control and prevent long-term complications, but it's not a cure.
You may ask, "How does JDRF help make this a reality?" JDRF does more than just fund research. JDRF is the leader in setting the agenda for type 1 diabetes research worldwide, and is the world?s largest charitable funder and advocate of T1D research. JDRF uses its research leadership to bring about collaborations between top researchers in diverse fields to focus their energies on finding cures for T1D and its complications. And JDRF's influence isn't just limited to a research lab. JDRF works to move basic discovery science through the research pipeline to produce treatments and cures that are widely available to people with T1D. JDRF has experience working with industry and the FDA to bring treatments and cures to market. And JDRF advocacy efforts have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending for T1D research. A donation to JDRF for T1D research does more than just fund research projects and trials, it makes a difference in the lives of people with T1D.
Finding a cure and improved treatment is more important than ever. The American Diabetes Association recently reported that an alarming 23 percent rise in T1D incidence over an eight year period ending in 2009. Unlike the rise in type 2 diabetes, which can be linked to the high prevalence of obesity in youth, researchers have no explanation as to why T1D is growing at such a high rate.
Please help make a difference in my daughter's life and donate to our ride.
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