One of the most heartbreaking feelings for a parent with a sick child is, knowing their child has an incurable illness that is completely unpredictable; at times debilitating and may have devastating behavioral manifestations for the child and the family.

 

For Gina Dengler, it was clear after a close relative was finally diagnosed she and her whole family made the commitment to get involved with JDRF by volunteering their time and efforts to the cause to fight the disease. She and her family have been of service since 2006. Ms. Dengler applied for an opening as the Development Coordinator, of a Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in 2010, now located in Naples.

 

Although Gina is not alone in her passion or her drive to combat the ravages of juvenile diabetes. JDRF’s purpose is simply to provide information and resources about the disease, its complications, prevention; promote awareness, and to fundraise for research. She is not alone in her mission and rejects any credit given to her for what she believes is a collaborative effort shared by many to eradicate diabetes.

 

There are 10 Counties in the SW Florida Suncoast Chapter from Manatee to Collier Counties, and east to Lake Okeechobee being served by a staff of four. This may seem shocking, however, she explains it this way, “Keeping a low overhead allows for every penny to be put directly toward research and not paying for nonessentials. $1.6 billion goes toward research.”

 

What is diabetes anyway? There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 which is an autoimmune deficiency which stops the pancreas from producing insulin, and can strike suddenly at any age. Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder normally diagnosed usually in adults which describes the manner in which the body tries to negotiate the distribution of blood glucose. The body still produces insulin; however, it is unable to be effective in its use.

 

It’s commonly known to people as ‘sugar’ which is not the proper terminology for the condition. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as having a little sugar. One either has it or is pre-diabetic, and with the changes in lifestyle, for example, not being sedentary (seeking adequate amounts of exercise) in addition to changes in eating habits, and taking medications may be needed to manage symptoms in order to somewhat impede the disease. Currently, there is no cure for Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

 

Diabetes has a significant negative financial impact on the country and individuals. According to the Fact Sheet on the JDRF web site the average person suffering from diabetes has a healthcare cost of $11,700 as opposed to a person without the disorder whose annual healthcare in 2009 was approximately $4,400. This is a massive crisis that needs to be addressed on many levels.

 

JDRF works tirelessly in their fundraising efforts getting the communities involved with outreach and mentoring programs. In addition, there are 2 Walks for the Cure in April. Visit the website and sign up to fight against this disorder. JDRF has planned the 6th Annual Hope Gala at the Ritz Carlton in March. Gina said, “Our mission is ongoing.”

 

No one has to feel left out. If you would like to be a part of JDRF or participate in any of the upcoming events, please visit the website www.jdrf.org . You may also follow on their social networking such as Twitter and Facebook or call (800) 533-CURE for further information.