WHAT IS JUVENILE DIABETES?
Juvenile diabetes is a disease which strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin-dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. In juvenile diabetes, a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Juvenile diabetes usually strikes in childhood but lasts a lifetime. People with juvenile diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continuous infusion of insulin through a pump just to survive.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is the name given to disorders in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a disorder of the body’s immune system—that is, its system for protecting itself from viruses, bacteria or any “foreign” substances.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach. These cells — called beta cells — are contained, along with other types of cells, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets. Beta cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy. But when the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.
For this reason, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. People with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, which can be life threatening.
The warning signs of type 1 diabetes include extreme thirst; frequent urination; drowsiness or lethargy; sugar in urine; sudden vision changes; increased appetite; sudden weight loss; fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath; heavy, labored breathing; stupor; and unconsciousness.
Generally, type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved.
WHAT IS JDRF?
JDRF, the leading charitable funder and advocate of juvenile (type 1) diabetes research worldwide, was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $800 million in direct funding to diabetes research. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. JDRF’s mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
DELTA EPSILON PSI AND JDRF
Our fraternity is not only committed to continuing juvenile diabetes awareness but also to providing to the juvenile diabetes research foundation. In the past year, our fraternity as a whole donated more than $50,000 to the foundation. Our chapters and colonies host/attend various events both during and outside our philanthropy weeks. Below you will see a glimpse of our efforts to benefit JDRF and the “Sure for a Cure.”
- Sugar-Free Bowl – annual charity flag football tournament.
- Sugar Free Wrist Bands – wrist bands to promote awareness and raise funds for the JDRF.
- Diabetes Awareness Week – Events included sugar-free food tasting, blood-sugar testing, a sugar-free bake sale, Annual Charity Party, a walk.
- You Got Served – annual charity tennis tournament.
- Who’s Got Game – charity 3 on 3 basketball tournament.
- Sugar Spike Off – charity volleyball tournament.
- Dodging Diabetes – charity dodgeball tournament.
- JDRF Walk for a Cure – National JDRF Walk.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
One of the best ways for those interested outside of Delta Epsilon Psi to assist, is through signing up and attending the various events that we host. Its this type of support that ensures our events will be as successful as possible, allowing us to not only raise donations but raise awareness. Please look for these events in your local community and/or campuses. These philanthropic events occur at least once a semester and provide ample opportunity to help make a difference in finding a cure. For more information on how you can help JDRF and how you can make donations please visit www.JDRF.org.