Non-profit organizations exist to support and benefit a particular important cause, and ultimately to advance the public interest. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (“JDRF”) is just such an organization, and they are on a mission: to turn Type One into Type None.
Millions of children, adults and families are challenged by type 1 diabetes (T1D) every single day. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin, the hormone which converts food into energy.
It strikes children and adults suddenly. It is unrelated to diet and lifestyle, though a diagnosis now dictates a lifetime of carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and (presently) lifelong dependence on injected insulin. There is no way to prevent it, and at present, no cure.
JDRF works every day to change this by amassing grassroots support, deep scientific knowledge, and many partnerships to fund research.
JDRF has led the search for a cure for T1D since its founding in 1970. In those days, people commonly called the disease “juvenile diabetes” because it was frequently diagnosed in young children. Today, we know that an equal number of children and
adults are diagnosed every day – approximately 110 people per day. Thanks to better therapies, which JDRF funding has been instrumental in developing and making available, people with T1D live longer and stay healthier while they await the cure.
A local family has confronted T1D head-on for the past decade. The Danner family had no family history and no knowledge of this life-changing disease when their daughter Alyssa was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. Julie Danner, Alyssa’s mom, called JDRF “a lifeline,” with dedicated, caring staff and volunteers. She said: “They offered us resources and understanding like no one who hasn’t experienced this diagnosis or disease could offer, and most of all, they offered us hope. We believe that we will see a cure for our daughter in her lifetime, and JDRF is working tirelessly toward that cure. When Alyssa was diagnosed, we felt helpless and through JDRF we found a purpose and a way to be a part of the cure that will benefit the children and adults that struggle every single day. I am grateful every day for this organization and the wonderful friends that I have met through JDRF.”
Other local families underscore the struggles which go hand-in-hand with a Type One diagnosis. Pam Price writes of surviving some of the “darkest moments” when her son was diagnosed at age five; she notes that through JDRF, she connected with other caring families and volunteers. Everyone shares “the goal of seeing all kids free of this horrible disease.”
The Lang family, with two T1D sons, is committed to finding a cure to help all kids with this disease; mom Michelle volunteers at JDRF “with other great families who know exactly what” her family encounters. Barry and Tricia Wilkinson highlight the positive lessons their daughter has learned to care for her own health. And, another mom, Jennifer Lange, is committed to helping JDRF meet funding goals for scientific research. Like any other parents, she has served in many volunteer and staff roles at the JDRF. All families fervently hope their kids can live long and healthful lives.
Naples is served by the Florida Suncoast Chapter of JDRF, a dynamic group dedicated to the important mission of helping those affected by T1D and to support research. To achieve their goals, the Suncoast Chapter organizes several fundraisers each year including “The One Walk.”
Another exciting opportunity to support the ongoing efforts of the local JDRF is coming up on Friday, March 11. This year’s event (founded by the John McDonough family) marks the Hope Gala’s 10th anniversary and promises to be a glamorous evening celebrating “The Golden Age of Las Vegas.”
As in prior years, the event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort. With the theme, “The Best is Yet to Come,” the gala will host more than 300 guests for dinner, dancing, silent and live auctions and casino-style gaming. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy an unforgettable, sophisticated evening!
For information about Hope Gala 2016 and the important mission of JDRF, please contact the Florida Suncoast Chapter office at 239.591.2825 or, via email to Sarah Owen: sowen@ jdrf.org and: https://jdrf-fl-sarasota-manatee.ejoinme.org/My Events/2016HopeGalaTheBestisYettoCome/tabid/696275/Default.aspx
Email Karen at NaplesKCC@gmail.com to suggest coverage of a favorite charitable organization for a future article. Special thanks to the Danner family for highlighting the extraordinary efforts of the local JDRF in support of member families and the quest for a cure.