College life comes with enough problems, but for 20-year-old Bethany Mathews of Pasadena, the trials and tribulations multiplied when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 19.
Juvenile diabetes is also referred to as type 1 diabetes. While it normally occurs at some point during adolescence, it is also possible for adults to be diagnosed as type 1 as well. This form of diabetes causes the patient to become dependent on insulin and brings along concerns for complications. Insulin does not cure diabetes or the possible complications; insulin simply helps regulate the blood sugar levels in the body.
People with juvenile diabetes must monitor what they eat and what they drink as well as how much they exercise so they can avoid hypoglycemic, low blood sugar and hyperglycemic, high blood sugar, reactions that can cause major problems. Juvenile diabetes is a life-long battle for control of both their bodies as well as their everyday lives.
“The A&M motto explains it best; from the inside looking out you can’t explain it and from the outside looking in you can’t understand it,” said Mathews about living with juvenile diabetes.
Because the lives of patients with juvenile diabetes change so drastically, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation was established to not only find a cure for juvenile diabetes but to also educate patients so that their quality of life can be preserved. The number one concern of JDRF is the patients.
JDRF was founded by parents of children suffering from type 1 diabetes. These parents knew firsthand the need for a support system and the means by which to find a cure for the disease. Since the foundation of JDRF in 1970, the company has raised more than $1.3 billion for diabetes research.
JDRF’s “dedicating to finding a cure” motto helped launch their newest billion-dollar campaign called “From Research to Reality: The Campaign to Accelerate the Cure for Diabetes.” The goal of the campaign is to move research from thoughts into treatments that can impact millions of lives around the world.
With a campaign of this magnitude comes the need for funding; JDRF offers many opportunities for people to contribute to a cause that is changing lives daily. But for JDRF, it is not just about getting the hard-earned dollar of the community; it is about spreading the word so that patients do not suffer in silence.
On Nov. 8, JDRF held the annual “Walk for a Cure” at Reliant Park. While the walk raises millions of dollars for research every year, it also brings together hundreds of thousands of those with juvenile diabetes. No one truly understands the impact the disease has on the lives of the sufferer better than someone dealing with it themselves.
“Our family and friends are awesome but they don’t always get it,” said Melissa Carter, one of the participants in the walk, who was recently diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. “Sometimes we need to be reminded we aren’t the only one dealing with this.”
While there is still no cure for juvenile diabetes, JDRF offers help with learning how to deal with the disease now and the hope for a future free of juvenile diabetes. To learn more about juvenile diabetes and how you can help, visit JDRF’s Web site at www.jdrf.org.
---The Signal • 2700
Bay Area Blvd • Houston, TX 77058 • (281) 283-2570 • Contact The Signal