Dinner with Jeffrey Brewer, President and CEO of JDRF

Sunday Evening, March 13, 2011

After our second day of getting energized, educated and ready for our hill visits that will start Monday morning, we had a short break and then met for dinner and a presentation by President and CEO of JDRF International, Jeffrey Brewer.

Jeffrey  knows firsthand what living with diabetes is like, because his 16-year-old son has diabetes.  He knows what it’s like to not sleep through the night checking blood sugars every few hours because he does that.  He knows about living with a teenager with diabetes and the challenges that brings, and that life with a teenager is a whole different diabetes ball game.  He talked about adolescence being the perfect storm for bad diabetes management and how he and his family were currently living right in the eye of that storm.

He explained how originally JDRF was all about resolving diabetes and finding a cure.   Sadly we have come to realize that finding a cure is not that simple.  This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.  While we are waiting for the cure we need to develop  new treatments along the way.  He understands the importance that technology plays in dealing with diabetes, and he is working very hard to make sure that the latest and best technology is available to every one of you living with diabetes and he is working very hard to find a Cure!  To hear his thoughts on why the Artificial Pancreas is so important please follow this link and watch his video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDyTM1rq-dI

He also realizes that adults with diabetes need a place to go and they need someone they can turn to,  as well as the parents of children with diabetes. When someone gets tired of dealing with their diabetes or feels alone because of their diabetes, it doesn’t matter if they are 6 or 60 they need the  support of people who are dealing with, or have dealt with the same diabetes frustrations that you are.

He shared the need to make sure we have a bond with the people we have been supporting and who have been living with the disease.   We (JDRF) are not moving away from anyone, we are embracing everyone.

He also expressed the importance that government relations has on the future of Diabetes Research Funding.  It is imperative that we all do our part to make sure our members of congress understand diabetes and its complications and the role it’s complications have on, not only our loved ones, but the taxpayers.  We need to build relationships with our elected officials so that when they cast their votes, they are remembering us!

After his speech he invited questions and comments from the audience.

Many of those that took to the mike,  thanked him for his leadership, and some just wanted to tell their story and thank JDRF for all they do to encourage research for a Cure.

One of those that took to the microphone was  author of the diabetes blog Diabetesaliciousness   and said  ” Hi, my name is Kelly Kunik, and I used to be a warm fuzzy child with diabetes and now I’m a warm and fuzzy adult with diabetes (for 33 years now) and I blog about living with diabetes. Thanks for welcoming us back to your family table.We’re all part of the same diabetes family, and some families don’t agree on everything, but because we’re family, we have each others back. I believe we need to sit at our family table and give thanks. I know my mother wishes that my sister could be here to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. But she can’t because she died from type 1 diabetes in her early 30’s. Had she had  a diabetes community to support her, I think she’d still be here. So thanks again for welcoming us back, we really appreciate it!”

When my grandson was first diagnosed, JDRF was there and they have been there for our entire family during his childhood  journey with diabetes.  Very soon my grandson will be an adult with Type 1 and I want him to know that JDRF will be there for him then too!

Thank you, Mr. Brewer for your insight and leadership!

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