Saturday, May 1, 2010

40 Years: Is a cure close?

Forty years ago this year, the parents of children with diabetes formed what is now the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Since the organization's founding in 1970, over $1.4 billion has been raised to support the quest for a cure to diabetes and its complications. This year marks an awkward milestone for JDRF, the 40 year anniversary "celebration." However, what is there really to celebrate? JDRF, as they say, is "in business to put themselves out of business." Since the lights at the JDRF home office in New York City and in the 100+ chapters and branches nationwide are still on, they clearly have more work to do. Details about what has been accomplished and the plans that JDRF has in this, its 40th year.
The irony of this year being the 40th Anniversary of JDRF's founding is that the name of our ride team is "The Shafer Ten Year Team." As I explained last year, we named the team in this way because when I was diagnosed on October 23, 1998, I was told that a cure would likely be found within the next 10 years. Obviously, 12 years later, there is still no cure yet. That is why the Ride to Cure Diabetes and JDRF still exist.

Since I was diagnosed, I have taken what seems like endless shots, tested my blood sugar constantly at all hours of the day and night, and carefully managed food and exercise. However, I am able to take care of myself. The individuals who could really use a cure are the extremely young and the extremely elderly. I do well to take care of myself, but could you imagine managing diabetes for a 16 month old? I'd like to share several numbers of note that may help illustrate the life of any diabetic, not just myself.

  • Diagnosed for nearly 139 months, roughly 4,170 days.
  • Test blood sugar approximately 25,350 times.
  • Used over 209,000 units of insulin totaling over 209 vials (roughly $100 each)
Diabetes care and supplies are a big business. This is why we ride, to raise money to find a cure so that the millions worldwide no longer have to endure. After 40 years, JDRF has made great strides towards a cure, but we are not there yet.

Your support of our team is appreciated! If you can donate, great, but if not, please know that your thoughts and prayers are needed for our quest to find this cure.

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