Our local JDRF chapter held a free event called A Day of Hope and Health on Sunday. It was a great event and gave us the chance to meet lots of families affected by Type 1 as well. It was great to see so many adults with Type 1 attend, as well as kids, parents, grandparents, spouses and doctors and health care professionals (and don’t let me forget Nick, the medical alert service dog!).
The event started with registration and a Vendor Fair. As the JDRF Advocacy Team Leader, I was hoping to encourage attendees to sign up to become advocates and also hoping that I’d get to meet some of the existing advocates so that I could put faces to some of their names!
It was also great to be able to meet with all of the different meter and pump companies and be able to compare their wares. To have some of the other organizations there that help to provide support for Diabetics was also a big plus..Lord knows, we need all the help we can get.
As the presentation got underway, some of our awesome volunteers took the children (all 60+ of them) to play games and make crafts so that the adults could listen to the presentations!!!
The keynote speaker was Susan Guzman, PhD, who talked about The Emotional and Psycho-Social Effects of Type 1 Diabetes. She was an awesome speaker and addressed many issues that most of us could relate to on one level or another. She spoke about the effects of managing diabetes as a Child, Teenager, and Adult with Type 1, as well as being the parent, sibling, grandparent or other loved one of a person with Type 1. She brought up many aspects of living with Type 1 but especially the fact that depression is very common in Type 1’s and talked about some why’s along with helpful tips to avoid depression. Some of the issues she covered were:
- Diabetes burnout and how there needs to be resources readily available for help
- Focus is usually on what type 1’s do wrong and not what they do right
- She described depression as “My Give A Damn Is Broken”!!
- Exercise is extremely important in treatment of depression
- Well managed Diabetes is not just A1C, but also cholesterol and blood pressure numbers as well
We were also given research updates by Dick Allen (who among many other accomplishments and positions, serves on the board of JDRF International and also has a grand daughter with Type 1) and Anne Grey (who is JDRF’s National Director of Leadership Giving).
- They stressed the importance that Advocacy has on funding research
- A Cure for newly diagnosed Type 1 will be different than the cure for someone that has had it for years
- JDRF is funding research in all areas
- Even if someone has had Type 1 for 30 years..pancreas still has beta cells
- There is promising research being done with nano particles delivering drugs or vaccines, micro encapsulation, and antigen specific triggers for Type 1
I attempted to tweet as they spoke…I’m not sure it made any sense to anyone that read it…and my husband saw me tweeting and thought I was just bored and playing a game on my phone…Yikes!!! I sure hope no one else saw me and felt that way!
After the presentation was over, everyone was given a card that could be used for a free lunch, arcade games and rides at a local amusement park. It was a great day and not only did we sign up over 40 new advocates I got to meet several of the existing advocates who had been so helpful in obtaining the signatures of their Congressmen on JDRF’s letter to the FDA!!
Thank you Cindy and Michelle for all your hard work in putting this great event together! IT WAS FANTASTIC!!