May 01, 2016
Charity of the Month - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
EatSmart fans will continue to select a Charity of the Month in 2016. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011. We've selected Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as our charity of the month for May. Our fan, Brian Perino, wrote to us,
I am the father of a Type 1 Diabetic 9 year old little girl named Sienna and have been fundraising for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for over 4 years now. By today, Sienna will have had over 12,000 finger sticks on her tiny fingers. She will have had more than 11,000 shots of insulin on her small body and will have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for over 1,610 days. Sienna is only 9 years old and was diagnosed 4 1/2 years ago at the age of 5. What is Type 1 Diabetes? Type 1 Diabetes happens when the immune system attacks and kills off the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that helps sugar to enter the body's cells. This is how our bodies get energy. Sienna's pancreas will no longer make insulin and without insulin, she will die. Type 1 Diabetes has nothing to do with poor eating habits or obesity as many believe. That is a different type of diabetes. She did nothing to get Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is an auto immune disease. There is no cure! Every carbohydrate at every meal or snack must be counted. Then the carbohydrates must be perfectly balanced immediately through injections. These injections act like a healthy pancreas would act. Can you imagine having a shot for every meal, every snack, every day? There are no exceptions and there is NEVER a day off. It is a stressful and exhausting job, just to keep our daughter alive each and every day. Type 1 Diabetes is a 24/7, 365 day disease. Not only do we check her blood sugar numbers during the day (by pricking her fingers), we also get up at midnight and 3am every night to check her blood sugar and give her carbs or insulin, if needed. Yes, that means as parents of a child with Type 1 Diabetes we have not had a full night’s sleep in over 4 years. Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night from a deep sleep and told that you need to eat something or drink a juice box. Then wait 15 minutes and re-test your sugar to ensure your levels went up before you go back to sleep. Sienna has endured these sleepless nights too many times to count. If we don’t do these checks and her sugars drop too low, she may never wake up in the morning. That is how serious this disease is. Why JDRF? The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the #1 non-profit fundraiser of diabetes research worldwide. They're helping to develop research and are closer to a cure and life-changing treatments than ever before. Your support and JDRF will help get us there. All donations go directly to fund research for a cure and life changing medical advancements.