Ten years ago this January 31st, my son, Westin, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. He was two years old and we have zero type 1 diabetes in our families. I remember, after being admitted into the hospital that Monday night, all the doctors and interns coming in to ask us the same questions over and over again. (Eventually, that is what they do in a teaching hospital.) Do you have any family history? Did you see any symptoms? What led up to this? And the part I will always remember, and laugh at, is the statement I heard so many times. "Wow! He is two years old? We never see type 1 in patients so young!" At the time, I didn't know any better. Great, we were "exceptional"! Just what I wanted to hear.
The truth is, type 1 diabetes in the 4 and under is the fastest growing group to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. We weren't alone! I have many friends whose children were diagnosed as infants. In addition, some 90% of all cases have zero family history. In another study I read about in The Autoimmune Epidemic, 1 in 648 children and young adult under the age of 19 have type 1 diabetes.
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise at an amazing rate. One researcher that is really making progress in understanding the autoimmune disease of diabetes is Dr Denise Faustman. Her research may hold a cure for not only type 1 diabetes but also other autoimmune diseases like MS and rheumatoid arthritis. To learn more about her research, check out this new website, Help Cure Childhood Diabetes. It has a great video that explains Dr Faustman's research.
It makes sense, her research. Unfortunately, what is good for the people isn't always good for business. Funding for this kind of research would usually come from pharmaceutical companies. But this potential cure would not be a profit center. Companies, whether pharmaceutical or not, have one duty, to make the largest profit possible. They aren't people with an interest in curing diseases with a method affordable to even third world countries. They are businesses and they have certain obligations to the share holders.
The Help Cure Childhood Diabetes website was built by parents of children with type 1 diabetes. We have a great interest in seeing this disease cured. This website will help get money directly to Dr Faustman's research while cutting out the middle man, aka fundraising non profit organizations. While organizations like the ADA and the JDRF have raised remarkable amounts of money, they have expenses like salaries and advertising budgets. I want to know where my money is going and I want it all (100%) to go to the research for a cure.
Please, take a few moments and watch the video on the site mentioned above. If nothing else, it is quite educational. (Ok, you can see the homeschooler in me looking for any opportunity to learn something new!) If you usually give to charities at the end of the year, please consider this cause. We have to do this in a grass roots effort to see that it gets funded. How else will we know if it will work? Also, speard the word. :)