Dear Family and Friends,
On Sunday, October 27, I will run my second 5k for JDRF at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Last year, I ran in honor of my friend and colleague Alix Heald, and I am running for her again! The strength and courage she shows every day as she faces type 1 diabetes (T1D--formerly known as juvenile diabetes) inspires me to run this race.
I met Alix 8 and 1/2 years ago when she was a senior in high school and I was starting my career at JDRF. In the years that I've known Alix there have been many advances in the treatment of T1D. Even in the 10 months since my last run, I'm happy to say a lot has happened. This year there were outpatient clinical trials for the artificial pancreas which will allow individuals with T1D to be able to live their lives without thinking of their diabetes 24 hours a day. Parents might be able to sleep through the night for the first time since their child's diagnosis knowing that the artificial pancreas will administer the appropriate amount of insulin based on the individual's blood sugar while he is sleeping. Additionally there are now clinical trials in the area of beta cell encapsulation--a small plastic device that contains islets--smaller than a credit card--will be implanted under a person's skin and will provide the individual with the islets that have been depleted and will also protect the individual from the autoimmune attack. This is a huge and exciting development. It couldn't have happened without JDRF.
These are great advances, but until enough money is raised, Alix and the 3 million other individuals living with T1D will continue to live with the burden of diabetes. The photo that I've included here was taken last weekend at another colleague's wedding. A beautiful day--we are both beaming. However just hours before, Alix's blood sugar had dropped dramatically and she had to eat something while in the church in order to ensure she wouldn't lose consciousness. Blood sugar highs and lows reek havoc in people with T1D. It's a constant struggle each day and a constant worry about the future and the complications that diabetes can cause.
I'm thrilled to say that last year I raised almosts $3,000 for reasearch and I'm hoping to do this again. Please consider making a donation to our team--which has a crazy name--something like "I love you Mary Jo even though you have Diabetes"..the team name is some sort of an inside joke among Alix and her friends, but the disease is anything but a joke. Please support us as we get closer to the finish line.
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Dr. Samuel Sigal
Gina & David Sigal
Harold & Lois Weitzner
Mr. Joseph Mendelsohn
Ms. Ellen Rubesin
Nina & Ed Bernstein
Randie and Bobby Harmelin
valerie and garth heald