By Catherine Garfinkel
Human Resources Director
CopperPoint Insurance Companies
My son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes (T1D) in kindergarten. In those early days, my job as his mother was to learn how to care for him and keep him alive. Counting carbs. Blood sugar tests. Middle of the night pricks. Multiple insulin injections. It was a daily grind that was both frightening and exhausting.
Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is a relentless autoimmune disease that suddenly attacks the pancreas because the body does not produce enough insulin hormone to regulate blood sugar. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.25 million Americans have T1D and an estimated 40,000 people will be newly diagnosed each year. Did you know diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and there is still no cure?
Although we’ve been living with our son’s diabetes for 17 years now, managing his condition has been serious and stressful at times. It’s also a lot like brushing your teeth. You think about diabetes every single day and there is never, ever a break.
But there is hope. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Their mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. The research they’ve funded has led to life-changing solutions such as an insulin pump that our son has worn since he was eight.
A signature event for JDRF is OneWalk, a 5K fundraising event to turn Type 1 into Type None. The Phoenix walk will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Sloan Park in Mesa. I’m humbled by the community and corporate support for the walk as I know the impact it can make for families facing a diabetes diagnosis.
I’m also grateful that my employer, CopperPoint Insurance Companies, is the co-title sponsor of the event. Our goal is to have more than 50 walkers together on walk day. We also plan to energize and incentivize our employees with internal events and department competitions to raise awareness and funds for JDRF.
Type 1 diabetes is a horrific disease but it is manageable. It challenges and exhausts you, but it doesn’t define you. My son is so much more than a Type 1 diabetic. I couldn’t be prouder of him and the life lessons this disease has taught us all.
To get involved and join the Phoenix area OneWalk, visit here.