Pella team members rally to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes
PELLA, Iowa, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — You need the skills of a mathematician, a physician, a personal trainer and a dietitian to successfully treat and live with type 1 diabetes, says Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) celebrity spokesperson Mary Tyler Moore.
“We need to be constantly factoring and adjusting, making frequent finger sticks to check blood sugars, and giving ourselves multiple daily insulin injections just to stay alive,” said Moore on the JDRF website.
Moore is one of three million Americans who has or may have type 1 diabetes, according to JDRF. Each year, more than 150,000 children and 15,000 adults — about 80 people per day — are diagnosed with the disease, according to JDRF.
Pella employees pledge support
Nearly a decade ago, the team members of Pella(® )Windows and Doors began actively raising money for JDRF to help find a cure for the autoimmune disease.
During the past year, Pella team members across the U.S. and Canada have raised $107,777. Add that to its annual fundraising since 2003, and Pella team members have raised $2,083,411 for the non-profit JDRF to help support type 1 diabetes research.
“Those who live with type 1 diabetes typically take insulin every day just to survive. We know that insulin is not a cure, and that’s why Pella is dedicated to raising money for JDRF to help fund essential research,” said Pella spokeswoman Kathy Krafka Harkema, who donated a kidney to free her mother from dialysis, when her mother’s kidneys failed from type 1 diabetes. “Pella team members proudly raise money for JDRF to make life easier for those with type 1 diabetes and those who care for them,” said Krafka Harkema.
Krafka Harkema is one of many Pella employees with a personal connection to type 1 diabetes. Jim Thomas, director of information technology operations at Pella, has a daughter with type 1 diabetes. Thomas is now president-elect of the Greater Iowa JDRF Chapter Board of Directors.
“Reality sets in very quickly once a loved one is diagnosed with diabetes,” he said. “Life changing is immediate!”
Thomas credits JDRF for its commitment to funding diabetes research. In the more than 40 years the organization has been raising money, type 1 diabetes has become much easier for people to deal with, monitor and control, he said.
“As a parent, you are clearly reminded every day of very real impacts and concerns from this disease. It’s a constant battle wanting to understand and not be overprotective,” he said. “My daughter is 19 years old and does a great job taking responsibility for her health. She understands what it means to her for the long term.”
Moving toward a cure
More than 80 percent of JDRF donations fund research and research-related education advances in every stage of type 1 diabetes, from prevention to treatment to cure, said Mary Hunter, executive director of JDRF Greater Iowa. At the Greater Iowa Chapter, which contributes more than $2.1 million annually to diabetes research, the efficiencies are even higher than 80 percent.
“JDRF funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity, but there is more promising science out there than we can currently afford to fund,” Hunter said.
“Through the support we have from corporations like Pella Windows and Doors we can deliver better treatments, and eventually a cure,” she said.
To help JDRF find the cure for diabetes, visit jdrf.com to make an online donation, learn about volunteer opportunities and find out about upcoming fundraising events.
What is Type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes — also called juvenile diabetes — occurs when the body’s own immune system misguidedly attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, according to JDRF. These cells normally produce insulin, a chemical messenger that helps the body move sugar from food sources into cells throughout the body, which use it for fuel to stay alive. But when the cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and sugar stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to the organ systems of the body and starves cells of their normal energy source.
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