Friday, May 2, 2014

1st Annual Bowling for Diabetes tournament raises $10,000

The members of Illinois Legislative Diabetes Caucus and the Illinois Legislative Diabetes Caucus Foundation held their first bowling tournament on April 30th raising more than $10,000 for the foundation and to send children with Diabetes to camp through the American Diabetes Association.

Rep. Michael Tryon announced the winners on the House Floor on May 1st. This will be an annual event for the Caucus and the Foundation.

The winning team led by Reps Tracy, Osmond & Hammond.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Diabetes Caucus Proud to Reach 1,116 Illinoisans on Diabetes Awareness Day

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Legislative Diabetes Caucus is proud to announce it screened 1,116 people on Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14th.

"These screenings allowed us to not only help individuals with early detection, it also allowed The Diabetes Caucus to raise awareness for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

These free screenings sponsored by both Representatives and Senators took place throughout the state at various Diabetes events, businesses, hospitals and health fairs. The screenings were provided in partnership with local health departments and hospitals.
“A special thanks to Novo Nordisk for all their help in setting up each screening and providing key educational materials for all the participants and businesses,” said Durkin.

“Through these screenings, those showing signs of diabetes or pre-diabetes were identified and they were encouraged to seek additional testing by their personal physicians,” said State Rep. Michael Tryon, founding member of the Diabetes Caucus. “I know that at the diabetes event I sponsored, we had two individuals who were referred for additional testing. I am pleased the Diabetes Caucus was able to assist Illinoisans with early detection, which is the key to successful management of diabetes.”

In addition to the free screening the Diabetes Caucus has sponsored legislation including the creation of Illinois Diabetes Awareness Day, November 14th, legislation to create a Diabetes Action Plan throughout the state and new Diabetes Awareness License Plates.

Members of the Diabetes Caucus are already planning free Diabetes screenings statewide for next Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14, 2014 please check for a location near you.

30 Stories of Diabetes Education: Colleen Farrell

Colleen Farrell

I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic at 5 years old in August 1992. This year marked 21 years as a diabetic, and still going strong. Constant urination and extreme thirst were my symptoms. My parents knew something was wrong when we were on our way to a neighbor’s party. I had just gone to the bathroom before we left, and about 2 minutes later I had to go again and almost didn’t make it down the street. I missed over 100 days of school after the diagnosis.
My grandma had been a type 1 diabetic since she was in her 30s, and when my parents told her she said her heart was broken because she knew what kind of life I would have to live each day. My grandma passed away when I was in 3rd grade, but still to this day she is my inspiration for living a healthy and full life as a type 1 diabetic.
I started on a strict diet, poking my finger 10-15 times a day, and taking insulin shots. I was on shots until my freshman year of high school when I got a pump. The first time my doctor put the pump on me (in my stomach), I nearly passed out. I was terrified, but the pump has been the best thing for my diabetes. I feel so much better. It’s my mini portable pancreas.
I went to the American Diabetes Association’s Camp Can Do from 5-9 years old. After I graduated high school, I went back to volunteer as a camp counselor and eventually a camp teacher. This year marked my 9th year of volunteering. I love going to camp because it’s so refreshing to meet other people who are going through the same experiences I am, and also because it brings me great joy to be a role model for these young children. I was once those kids, so I understand firsthand what they are going through. Every year, I learn something new at camp from the campers and counselors. It has been a very positive experience for me.
I am now a 6th grade teacher and I enjoy teaching my students about diabetes as well. There are a couple of students in my school who are diabetics, and I am often their advocate, helping hand, and listening ear. I am grateful to be an inspiration and role model to them. I know how hard it was being the only diabetic in my school, so I hope to keep motivating them to do well.
The past 21 years have been a battle, but I’m a fighter. I would not be here today without the love, support, and energy of my mom, dad, sisters, boyfriend, and friends. I can never thank them enough. It hasn’t always been easy, but I hope that I can spread awareness and be an inspiration to others who are also fighting the good fight.

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Stories of Diabetes Education: Mallory Dahlquist

Mallory Dahlquist:
20 Years Later

On November 8th of this year I celebrated my twentieth anniversary living with type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in 1993 when I was 6 years old. My parents realized something was wrong when I didn't want to go trick-or-treating or eat candy with my friends at Halloween. I was also chugging water so much; they thought I had a bladder infection. Little did we know that after that doctor visit turned hospital stay that our lives would be changed forever. The social worker helped my parents better understand what was needed to take care of me, and all I remember from my week-long hospital stay was my friends all writing me get well soon cards, sending me stuffed animals, and a grand total of 52 balloons from family and friends.

I started poking my finger 10+ times a day and taking insulin shots 4-10 times a day. I hated it. I am not a fan of needles and was so scared to get a shot; I didn't want to accept that this was what I had to do every day. Luckily, a few months after diagnosis I attended the American Diabetes Association Camp Confidence day camp in Des Plaines, IL. I was still very afraid of needles, but was able to finally meet other kids just like me. These other campers and counselors were huge role models in my life and helped me to want to take better control of my own diabetes.

When I was in 8th grade I started on an insulin pump and it changed the way I saw diabetes. It was so much easier to handle, but the site changes were still not my favorite. My friends even threw me a surprise party to congratulate me because they knew how scared I was.

When I had aged out of day camp I became a junior counselor, senior counselor, and teacher counselor and never left Camp Confidence. It was always my favorite week of summer-getting to be a role model and help kids with diabetes and gain knew knowledge each year from the nurses, parents and campers/counselors with diabetes. Each year I grew more confident in myself and what I wanted to do with my life.

I have my Masters in Social Work so that I can continue to help families and children impacted by diabetes. I celebrated my 20th year at Camp Confidence as an employee of the American Diabetes Association as Associate Manager of Youth Initiatives (School Walk, Family Link, and Camp). After a summer at all of the Association camps I was able to face my fears and start on a CGM and start the Omnipod and new site locations. I never would have had the guts to do that without the amazing support of everyone at Camp.

In the last 20 years no matter how bad it got at times I learned so much, met so many amazing people, and really grew into the person I am today. ADA Camp Confidence changed my life and made me realize what I was passionate about in life- educating and supporting others with diabetes and I am so thankful to be where I am today. I still hope for a cure every day, but things have improved so much and I am so grateful and hope that I can instill the same confidence and positivity in today's youth with diabetes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

30 Stories of Diabetes Education: Luke Selinger Selinger may have diabetes,

but diabetes does not have him!

Luke Selinger, 9, was diagnosed with type one diabetes on April 28, 2012 at the age of 8. Luke has asked many times, 'why me?' to his condition, but he's never complained about T1D or let it stop him for living his life to the fullest and achieving his dreams. Luke attends a small Catholic School in Will County, where he is in the 4th grade. He is a member of the chess club and plans on playing for the basketball team when he reaches the 5th grade.
Take a look at Luke's everyday life and his Legion!

Last spring, out of their love and support for Luke, Holy Family setup a JDRF Walk for the Cure walk at the school. The small school of 300 students raised over $7000.00 for JDRF and diabetes research. Prior to the walk, Luke spoke to his classmates and schoolmates about T1D and what he deals with daily. He also noted that because of his condition, he has been fortunate enough to meet some of his heroes and famous athletes including Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs and Hall of Famer Lou Brock.

Luke plays baseball part-time travel baseball, as well. Luke played in over 50 games last spring and summer. He'll play a little less this year, but his diabetes won't hold him back. His teammates are very accepting of his condition and many of them go out of their way to make sure he drinks enough fluids and that he takes care of himself during games. Baseball is one of Luke's passions.

People have said that Type 1 diabetics are heroes. Luke definitely is. He handles himself so well a lot people who don't know he has T1D are surprised when they find out. He lives by the mantra that he may have diabetes, but diabetes does not have him.

His condition is a part of him, but it won't define him. He has received so much support from his family, friends, teammates, classmates and teachers through his team Luke's Legion that he is considering speaking for JDRF at events about diabetes to educate others. He's learning how lucky he is to be loved and supported my so many. Again, Luke may have diabetes, but diabetes does not have him!