By Mira Patel
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Founda- tion was established in Bakersfield 15 years ago by parents of T1 diabetes’ children. Their mission is to fund raise for a cure for type 1 Diabetes (T1D), to treat, prevent and cure T1D and to provide support for our newly diagnosed families.
Since it’s founding in 1970, JDRF was known as the “Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.” But today we know that, 85% of those with T1D are no longer juveniles, they are adults. As a result the word “juvenile” is no longer descriptive of T1D or of the people and families living with the disease. Therefore, the organization recently dropped the formal name “Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation” from our identity and will now be known simply as JDRF.
Allison Perkins-Thomas, the branch manager at the local JDRF shares with us how the local foundation is helping T1D patients.
Locally the foundation works with all the hospitals with Bag of Hope distribution and pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. John Ching and Dr. Ching. In addition, Thomas says, “JDRF offers a free T1D education class for those in the T1D community and does in-service for diabetic educators and nurses."
JDRF is contacted, when a child is newly diagnosed with T1D. Thomas explains that the Mom of the Month (MOM) is responsible for delivering a Bag of Hope (BOH). This bag she says, “Contains information about having an extra meter to test blood sugar, a book that helps with counting carbohydrates, books on T1D at every school level and Rufus the Teddy Bear who has colorful felt spots for a child to practice giving themselves shots. Also, phone numbers and emails are exchanged between the families as well.”
The family is put on our mailing list for the bi-monthly support groups and family activities. Often times, for the next 6-12 months, the MOM becomes the lifeline for the newly diagnosed family.
Aside from helping families cope with T1D, the JDRF finds, “A major challenge in educating the public about difference the between T1D and T2D. We just have to keep spreading the word,” said Thomas.
T1D hit home as it runs in her father’s family - a granduncle, paternal grandmother and her dad’s twin sister. It’s one of the reasons why she got involved.
For more information visit, jdrf.org.