Tennessee FFA Members, Advisors, & Supporters:
Thirteen years! It’s hard to believe that this summer marks thirteen years that I have lived with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Living with diabetes is a constant and daily struggle, but let me break it down for you. Everyday before I eat a meal, I prick my finger and place a drop of blood on a test strip, count the carbs that I am about to eat, and give myself a shot of insulin to compensate for my body’s deficiency. It is also required that at bedtime I check my blood sugar once more and take a shot of a longer lasting insulin that helps to regulate my blood sugar throughout the night. That’s 4 finger pricks and 4 shots a day, minimum. 365 days a year for thirteen years totals to 18,980 finger pricks on top of 18,980 shots in my lifetime. Today, nearly 3 million people are living with T1D, with about 30,000 more (50% adults, 50% children) being diagnosed each year! The struggle for diabetics, like myself, is real (requiring much attentiveness and responsibility) and at most times, seems like one I will be living with forever. However, we have not lost hope.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org) is the leading global organization funding T1D research. Their goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without it. The JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D. JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research and is currently sponsoring $530 million in scientific research in 17 countries. Last year alone, the JDRF funded more than $110 million in research and was named one of Forbes five All-Star charities, citing the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. This summer, I had the privilege of attending a meeting about exactly what projects the JDRF are funding; the results are amazing and truly do give hope for a cure. Some of their research includes developing an artificial pancreas, immune research therapy, and Beta cell regeneration and encapsulation. The JDRF is doing A LOT to see that we find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. The Tennessee Association FFA also believes in a cure. It is an honor to announce that our state officer team has selected to raise funds for the JDRF as our service project for this year, but we can’t do it alone!
Here are ways for you and/or your chapter to get involved.
1) We are challenging FFA chapters to JOIN us to help raise funds for a cure. Our challenge to all the chapters is to organize at least one fundraiser to help raise funds for the JDRF. When you raise that money, you can click on the button up top of the Tennessee FFA walk page that says ‘Join My Team’ and donate that way or mail your donation to the Tennessee FFA Foundation office. If you are planning on attending the walk or donating money, please join our team (at http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-TN/Chapter-MiddleTennessee4622?pg=team&fr_id=2358&team_id=84228). When you register you can use your chapter as ‘First Name’ and FFA as ‘Last Name.’
2) This year’s State FFA Officers will all be attending the walk in Nashville. The walk does not require any cost, but you do have to register every member that plans to attend through the link above. We are hoping to team up with JDRF and have a tent available in which all FFA members will be able to meet with each other and mingle. We highly encourage your chapter to participate in this event being held in Nashville on September 28th, especially if you are located in Middle Tennessee. There are also other walks across the state. More information about walks can be obtained at: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=walk_homepage
3) Something I did in 6th grade to raise money, was sell the blue JDRF Cure Diabetes rubber bracelets. For orders of less than 25, they are $2 each and orders of more than25 they are $1 each. They are a great way for people to make a small donation and get something in return. An order form can be achieved through http://newengland.jdrf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2013/02/Cure_Diabetes_Bracelets_Order_Form.pdf
4) Also, available for purchase are the ‘TN FFA Believes In A Cure’ T-shirts that you may have seen the state officers wearing at camp. We will also be wearing these at the walk. Those can be ordered on the TN FFA Foundation Website at http://tnffa.org/page.aspx?ID=30 and are being sold for $16 a piece. They will have to be picked up either at the walk, the state office, or at National Convention. (They should be made available throughout the year).
5) I’m sure you have walked into your local grocery store, bank, or gas station and seen the little pieces of paper that everyone sells for about $1 if you donate to a certain cause. Well, the JDRF puts out these sneakers to ‘Walk to Cure Diabetes.’ The state officers will have these on them throughout the year attending different events and at chapter visits to raise funds. We have every intention of collecting these throughout the year and hanging them up at State FFA Convention in March. If you are interested in possibly selling these shoes and mailing them to us you can get them for free from any JDRF office. (Simply Google JDRF office in your respective region and give them a call; they are always more willing to assist you in raising funds.) If you are expecting a chapter visit from one of the state officers, we will have these!
Again, we are ecstatic to be working closely with the JDRF this year and cannot wait to see how each of your chapters get involved. I do ask that if you attend a walk or have any kind of fundraiser or event for the JDRF this year, please take pictures and send them to me at email@example.com. (We’d like to compile a video to send to JDRF and post them on the Tennessee FFA Facebook Page). The last thing that I would like to ask is that if you have an FFA member at your chapter who is living with Type 1 Diabetes, I would like to hear their story; please encourage them to contact me through my email. Upfront, I would like to thank you for your participation in our service project this year and if our team can help you in any way, please let us know. We can’t wait to see the impact that Tennessee FFA will have on this cause!
2013-2014 Middle Tennessee State Vice-President
Tennessee Association FFA
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