Six years ago, I wouldn't have been able to tell you what Juvenile Diabetes was. I thought it was the same diabetes that an adult gets, but just in a child. I never understood the MAGNITUDE of it. Well, that all changed when my four year old niece Becca was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes in July, 2007.
Becca is now ten years old. She is outgoing, active and smart. She loves sports, especially soccer. She loves to read and watch DVDs with her friends and she is doing exceptionally well at school. Her mind is like a sponge, wanting to learn everything. Her most favorite things are animals, especially dogs, and she wants to be a vet when she grows up. Or maybe a scientist. But, unfortunately Becca has an extra challenge. Becca has to contend with diabetes, which entails constant monitoring of her blood sugar level, regulating every bit of food that goes into her mouth and counter-balancing that with insulin. She cannot always eat when she feels hungry and must eat at times when she's not. Blood sugar highs have a devastating effect on various parts of the body. Blood sugar lows can be deadly. The insulin Becca takes is not a cure for her diabetes, but merely life support until a cure is found.
My sister recently wrote: "This first week of school has been tough. High blood sugars due to poor absorption of insulin, pod failures with alarms and disruptions in sleep due to these problems made it a week where we just needed to "survive". Every time that we watch Becca struggle for emotional control after a difficult day dealing with high (or low) blood sugars, our heart breaks. We do the best that we can, but lately most days have had issues and we recognize that a cure cannot come soon enough!"
For the past six years, it's been painful and heartbreaking to watch my sister, brother-in-law, and niece deal with this life-altering event. Within a month of Becca's diagnosis, I received an email about my company's participation in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and I immediately signed up to participate. JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is a non-profit organization dedicated solely to raising funds to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Since their founding in 1970, JDRF has raised over $1.4 billion for diabetes research - more than any other agency in the world!
This year, I'm chairing the JDRF Corporate Walk Team from my company. Becoming a Team Captain for O-I and participating in the walk is the best way I know of to help Becca and all the other people afflicted with this disease. On September 21, I'll be taking part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes, along with a half-million other walkers across the globe. Our goal: To raise over $89 million to fund research for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
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