Even as the polio (infantile paralysis) epidemic is being rapidly conquered (with the help of Rotary International), another epidemic which also affects children and is life-threatening is growing around the world. That epidemic is the epidemic of juvenile diabetes.
There are two main types of diabetes: .type 1 (which starts in childhood and is unrelated to obesity) and type 2 (generally associated with obesity, which mainly occurs in adults, but increasingly also occurs as children)
Whereas in Type 1, the immune system attacks and kills off the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, Type 2 is a metabolic disorder where a person still produces insulin but can’t use it effectively. [fn. 6]
Studies have shown that the incidence of Type 1 diabetes is increasing at a rate of 3–5% per year Over 70,000 children develop type 1 diabetes each year. IDF figures indicate that 440,000 children worldwide under the age of 14 now live with type 1 diabetes. For many children from the developing world, the outlook is bleak. [fn. 3]
“We are seeing an alarming increase of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children. . . . “said Dr Francine Kaufman, Chair of the IDF Consultative Section on Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes. (Fn. 3). Diabetes in childhood increases the risk of life-threatening diabetes complications at an early age. When diabetes is diagnosed in the young, life expectancy is shortened by an average 10 to 20 years [fn 3]
The situation is particularly disturbing in low and middle-income countries, where many children with diabetes die because they are diagnosed late or misdiagnosed. Many die because insulin is unavailable or in short supply. In Mozambique, for example, a person with type 1 diabetes will die within one year of diagnosis. [fn. 3]
In recognition of this fact, Rotary International joined with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and other organizations in persuading the United Nations to declare November 14 “World Diabetes Day. Rotary International also established an Action Group for Diabetes (RAGD) under the leadership of C. Wayne Edwards (Tallahassee. Florida), Dr. Massimo Benedetti (Perugia, Italy), Dr. Martin Silink (Lane Cove, Australia), and Dr. Larry C. Deeb (Tallahassee, Florida). [fn. 5]”
As observed by Syed Azmatullah, a Phoenix Rotarian:
“It is shocking to learn from Martin Silink, president of IDF [and Secretary of Rotary’s Action Group] that half of the 440,000 children with diabetes worldwide lack access to the insulin they need to live. It is necessary that every Rotary District observes World Diabetes Day to spread awareness of and help detect and treat the silent killer.” [Fn.. 5]
One of the organizations instrumental (along with Rotary International) in the creation of World Diabetes Day is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF),. JDRF was founded in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research in the world.
Although its focus is on type 1 diabetes, its research into glucose control will also provide benefits for those living with type 2. .[fn. 6]
This year’s JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes happens Sunday, October 25, 2015 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the Walk itself starts at 10 a.m. The length of the Walk is 3 miles or 5K.
The year 2010 saw the formation of a Team Rotary under the leadership of (last year’s President) Michael Ojeda of Arcadia’s noon Rotary Club. This year’s President Dr. Michael Hoey wants to reach more Rotary clubs in our area. Team Rotary is looking for both walkers who will raise money to be credited to Team Rotary and donors who will contribute in the name of a particular walker. Of course, this being a friendly competition between teams, the main goal is to raise money for research into a cure, regardless of the team or walker credited. If you are already a walker on another team (as are we, for our grand-daughter Miranda’s team), you can still participate as a donor to Team Rotary.
If you are able to walk with us this year (and we hope you can!), or to start a team of your own or for your local Rotary Club, please register with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Greater Los Angeles Chapter.
The following website is used to log-in or donate to a walker: