I spent Saturday evening at the Omni in New Haven. It was the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual gala. This was number 13. I’ve been to them all. I am the emcee.
There’s something I say every time I speak on behalf of JDRF. It’s a part of diabetes most people don’t know.
First, the easy stuff. Thank God we have insulin. It is not a cure. It is a treatment.
Even with diligent adherence to doctor’s orders a person with Type 1 Diabetes will live a shorter life–over a decade shorter. They stand a high risk of adult onset blindness and amputations. You really don’t want to know.
Every family finds out differently, but there’s one scenario that keeps coming back.
The child is young, a year or two. Something’s wrong. If you’re a parent you understand what I’m saying. The child is lethargic, listless, moping.
There’s no real symptom you can tell a doctor, just general things a parent notices.
And then all hell breaks loose!
Your child spikes a fever and gets really ill. Maybe you call the pediatrician first, but you’re headed to the ER. Now you are worried for the health of your child.
It is then and there, while you think your child is about to die, that you find out your family has been handed a life sentence.
Life becomes more cumbersome… more burdensome. There are pumps and sophisticated testing for all, but you’re still poking a hole in your skin to get blood 5 or 6 times a day!
If you’re a kid trying to blend in being diabetic is your nightmare. At every turn you’re standing out or needing special attention. Some friend’s parents might not want the responsibility that comes with you visiting.
A child is diagnosed with diabetes, but the family participates. Nothing is done without considering the disease first.
And diabetes will still diminish your quality of life and then life itself!
What the JDRF does is try and buy a cure. It’s that simple. The money we raise pays salaries for doctors and labs around-the-world. JDRF provides some of the grant money you hear about so often. Research follows money.
This disease will be cured. It will be cured in the short term. Everyone understands what needs to be done.
Some of the best proposals involve testing an artificial pancreas. It’s a closed loop system running silently inside you. It tests blood sugar then parcels out the correct amount of insulin all in real time.
The exact method the pancreas will use to do this and the full understanding of exactly how much insulin is right are still being engineered. There is no tolerance for fault in the finished design.
Last night after dinner a young woman with Type 1 Diabetes spoke for a few moments. She was moving. It’s tough not to be involved with motivation like that.
The gala honored Al Subbloie – President & CEO of Tangoe. I first knew them as a tiny company in a walk-up office over Roberto’s Restaurant on State Street in New Haven. Not so tiny any more. He seems like a very smart guy. Impressive.