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 www.ilgadiabetes.com for a location near you.

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.

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzdrlRCUOKMLuke 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!
Lou Brock will be speaking at 11:30 a.m. at
Peak Sports Club in Rockford for
Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14th
with Rep. Joe Sosnowski

 Lou Brock was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, and is ranked among the top 100 greatest baseball players of all time. He has a statue mounted at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri where he played for 17 seasons as a member of the Cardinals. He is the only player to have an award named in his honor while still a Major League Baseball player.

One day shortly after celebrating his 60th birthday, Brock was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He knew the disease was serious from the way people around him began speaking in the past tense. Understanding the seriousness of the disease, Brock knew he was going to have to work with his doctor and his family to manage his condition.

Now, Brock has partnered with Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company dedicated to diabetes care, to raise awareness of the importance of properly managing blood glucose levels and to demonstrate that diabetes can be successfully integrated into your life and ambitions.

Following his prestigious baseball career, Brock prospered as a businessman. His experiences include owner and operator of airport retail concessions in Chicago O'Hare and St. Louis International Airports. As an inventor, he holds two U.S. Patents and has also served as a broadcast analyst and spokesperson for many national organizations, including Major League Baseball. Today, Brock and his wife Jacqueline are both ordained ministers and reside in the greater St. Louis area.

Additionally, Lou is a spring training instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals, a position he has held for more than a decade. Brock is considered one of Major League Baseball’s finest ambassadors.

Rep. John Anthony and Morris Hospital from 7-9 a.m. at Morris Hospital 150 W. High St. in Morris

 Rep. Bellock and Adventist Hinsdale Hospital at LifeStart Fitness Center 8 am to 11 am One Tower Lane, Lower Level | Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Rep. Rich Brauer and Springfield Health Check from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Stratton Building Springfield, IL 62706

Rep. John Bradley from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Frankfort Public Library

Rep. Adam Brown and Paris Community Hospital from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 721 E Court St, Paris, IL 61944

Rep. Tom Cross and Rush Copley Hospital from 1 to 5 p.m. at Oswego Community School District 4175 Route 71 in Oswego

Rep. Monique Davis and Advocate Trinity from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Woodson Library 9525 S. Halsted, Chicago

Rep. Tom Demmer and Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital from 7 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 14 at the KSB Center for Diabetes Management, Commerce Towers, Suite 121, 215 E. First St., Dixon.

Rep. Laura Fine and NorthShore University HealthSystem from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30a.m. at Curt’s CafĂ© Evanston

Rep. Harris and Lutheran General Hospital from  9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Village Bank & Trust 150 East Rand Road, Arlington Heights

Rep. Norine Hammond & Rep. Don Moffitt with OSF Healthcare from 8am - 10am at Joslin Diabetes (in the lobby) at 3375 N Seminary St, Galesburg, IL 61401.

Rep. Lisa Hernandez and MacNeal Hospital from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 2137 S. Lombard, #205, Cicero.

Rep. Lisa Hernandez and Alivio Medical Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 3948 W. 26th St Chicago

Rep. Fran Hurley and Little Company of Mary from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the 19th Ward Service Office, 10400 S. Western, Chicago
Rep. Fran Hurley and Walgreens from 1 to 3 p.m. at Orland Hills Village Hall at 16033 S 94th Avenue, Orland Hills

Rep. Naomi Jakobsson and Walgreens from 11 a.m. to 1p at O’Briens Auto Parts

Rep Dwight Kay and Anderson Hospital from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Main Street Community Center, located at 1003 North Main Street in Edwardsville.

Rep. Stephanie Kifowit and Rush Copley Hospital from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Holiday Inn Express in 2005 Wiesbrook Dr. in Oswego.

Rep. Marty Moylan and Alexian Brothers Hospital from 10 a.m. to Noon at Elk Grove Pavilion, 1000 Wellington Ave. Elk Grove Village.

Rep. Michelle Mussman and Alexian Brothers Hospital from 2 to 4 p.m. at Schaumburg Public Library 130 S. Roselle, Schaumburg.

Rep. Ron Sandack and Edward Hospital from 10am until 2pm on at the Downers Grove Recreation Center, 4500 Belmont Rd. in Downers Grove.

Rep. Cynthia Soto from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diabetes Empowerment Center 2753 W Division, Chicago.

Rep. Silvana Tabares and Saint Anthony Hospital from 4 to 6 p.m. at Burroughs Elementary, 3542 S Washtenaw, Chicago

Rep. Jil Tracy and County Market with Blessings Hospital from 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. at the Blessing Diabetes Center 927 Broadway, Suite G30 Quincy, Illinois 62305

Rep. Mike Tryon and Rep. Barb Wheeler with Centegra Hospital from 10:00 a.m. until Noon at Image Industries 11220 East Main Street, Huntley


Rep. Jim Durkin and Edward Hospital with UPS.

Rep. Chad Hays and Presence Danville Hospital with Quaker Oats

Rep. David McSweeney and Sears.

Rep. David Leitch and Maui Jim with Novo Nordisk.

 Rep. Art Turner at UPS Chicago
Cooper Reif:
Diagnosed at 12 months old
Cooper Reif, 12, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 12 months old.  Taking interest in ADA’s summer Camps since the age of four and participating for the last two years as a Junior Counselor, Cooper is a well experienced camper.  To top off his knack for leadership roles and public speaking Cooper Reif will be honored as this year’s 2013 Youth Ambassador.  Being a well structured student Cooper participates in a number of school clubs and extracurricular activities such as volleyball and the Teen Advisory Board at Westfield Elementary.

  Reif is also very proud in being one out of the four officers for his schools Builders Club.  The club is a service club with 70 members providing help to food pantry’s, cleaning up forest reserves, and many more seeking a hand.   He states “I try not to let T1D stop me from anything I want to do, and I hope to pass on that message to younger kids.”  The teen leaders of past camp experiences inspired him to make a change and spread the knowledge that he had absorbed to those campers who are looking up to him now. The memo or motto he wants to give the campers this summer is that “diabetes cannot really stop you from anything”.  In which he will give himself as an example and explain to the kids never hold back or think you can’t do it because of diabetes.

When asked how the role of being the ambassador made him feel he replied, “It feels nice, I feel more responsible without it being overwhelming, which is nice”.  Being around a larger group of kids to talk about his own experience with diabetes does not intimidate Cooper in any way.  The day of the interview Cooper had prepared a book talk at Westfield in which afterwards his peers inquired “how are you so good?” in regards to his public speaking.  Cooper explains he just feels comfortable and never fear or anxiety while faced with a crowd.  It is safe to say Cooper is cut out for the job of Youth Ambassador!

Looking further down the road at his next steps and goals Cooper wishes to travel to Manchester, England and the UK someday.  Being a huge Manchester United soccer team fan and taking interest in castles of any sort, it is the one place he would travel out of the entire world.  As for a favorite food he could not decide! “It really depends on what I’m feeling like” Cooper tells us, “but my favorite breakfast food is cinnamon toast”. Looking forward to the summer, this ambitious lad will come ready to guide and help his fellow campers with motivation and confidence.  But most of all have a fun and exciting experience once again at Camp!

Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball is an open-wheel race car driver with Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing in the IZOD IndyCar series. Now in his third INDYCAR season, Kimball is the first licensed driver with diabetes in the history of INDYCAR to race at the highest level of the Series. He also is the first driver with diabetes to qualify for, complete and lead laps at the famed Indianapolis 500. In 2012, Kimball achieved six top-10 finishes including a second place finish in Toronto, and received INDYCAR’s Tony Renna Rising Star award.

In January 2013, Kimball and his team mates were the overall Rolex 24 at Daytona winners for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

Kimball, who began racing go-karts at age 9, deferred admission to Stanford University’s engineering program to pursue his dream of racing. He was abruptly forced to abandon his racing program mid-season when he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007 during a routine physician’s visit. At that time, Charlie was not sure how it would affect his racing.

Determined to get back behind the wheel, Kimball worked with his doctor and team to initiate a diabetes treatment plan that included some creative precautionary tools to help him manage his condition while driving. Six months later, Charlie was behind the wheel again claiming a podium finish in his first race back after his diagnosis.

Kimball has a history of breaking the mold. In 2005, he became the first American in 13 years to win a British Formula 3 race. He went on to secure two track records and several Formula 3 victories in both Britain and Europe. Kimball has also raced in the Formula 3 Euro Series, the World Series by Renault and the Firestone Indy Lights Series.

Off the track, Kimball is committed to raising the awareness of people living with diabetes and is a popular speaker on the topic. In 2012, he received the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service, considered the Nobel Prize for community service in the United States.

To keep up with Charlie both on-and-off the track, follow him on Twitter at @racewithinsulin or at

Don Moffitt:

If I can do it anyone can

In January of 2013, I accomplished a personal goal of losing 100 lbs.  At my heaviest weight, I was on medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol and was told by my doctor that I would soon need medications for diabetes.  

 I am proud to say that I have maintained that weight loss for almost an entire year.  Losing 100 lbs. in about one year was not an easy journey, but it was a worthwhile one.  At this time I am being phased off of all medications, no longer have sleep apnea and have kicked diabetes to the curb. 

To accomplish my goals, I consulted with my family doctor and developed my own plan which was to have a target goal of approximately 1,500 calories per day, but never more than 2,000 calories per day.  In addition, I wear a pedometer and try to walk 10,000 steps per day, which is about three miles.

There are also many very good, healthy, low-calorie snack items that have been helpful to me.  These include products or snack bars made by The Quaker Oats Company, Kellogg’s and Nature Valley, to name a few.  Also, “fast food” does not necessarily mean “fat food” since some restaurants do an outstanding job of listing calories on their menu boards.  I also eat healthy snacks like baby carrots, fruits, vegetables and peanuts, but always watch my total daily calorie intake.

If I can do it, then I know anyone can do it!   


A Father and A Daughter,

Together fighting Type 1
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on March 18, 1990. Up to that point in my life, I had no major health issues or medical concerns indicating that I was about to be blindsided with some unpleasant news. Unfortunately, I was informed that my health was not good and that my treatment would come in the form of daily injections. I had no idea what challenges I would face from that point forward to the present day, every single day. Having no previous knowledge or experience with diabetes, I started a lifelong journey of acceptance, learning and adaptation.

Personally, each day I am faced with the challenge of balancing three different elements to help control my Type 1 Diabetes, diet, exercise and insulin therapy. For me, the personal side is transactional and can be overcome by the acceptance of testing blood sugars, using an insulin pump and watching my diet. This is what I have to do and I do it well! Socially, living with Type 1 Diabetes is a greater challenge. You must adapt by: being disciplined, educating others around you, dealing with people who don't fully understand diabetes, planning out your day- every day and creating a trusted support system to leverage when in need of help (from family, doctors, nurses, certified diabetes educators to insurance providers and reliable research news sources). On the social side, the reminders of having a chronic disease are always present and, sometimes, can be tough situations to get through.

Not one single part of my life has escaped the impact of having Type 1 Diabetes. In fact, my worst nightmare came true on January 22, 2013, when my 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I saw her symptoms coming on, but hoped to God that this wasn’t happening right in front of me. However, I had to eliminate my concern. So, I tested her blood sugar that morning with my glucose meter, and experienced the longest 5 seconds of my life… to be eventually overcome with despair. I didn’t want to believe the result the first time, so I did it again. The second result was identical to the first. At that point, I knew and my heart sank. I realized my daughter would have to endure the same challenges I did, but for nearly her entirely life.

My goal is to be a contributing individual in finding the right combination of factors that will eliminate Type 1 Diabetes within our lifetimes. It is extremely important that the pursuit of identifying these factors never stops. Funding and research must continue for my goal to be achieved.

Pregnancy, Diabetes Control,
Double Blessings

Diabetes was the last thing on Meredith Velan’s mind as the excited newlywed and her husband, Kevin, began making plans for a future family.
Those plans changed dramatically upon return from a weekend vacation when the 30-year-old Walgreen’s market planning and research group employee was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disorder.
“I thought I had the stomach flu or possibly an infection,” states Velan, who recalls her unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, fatigue and frequent trips to the bathroom. “The possibility of diabetes hadn’t crossed my mind.”
Results of a blood test and consultation at her local Walgreen’s Take Care Clinic left her reeling.
“At 30 years old I was newly married and excited to start a family,” she says. “I’d always been vigilant about maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and making healthy food choices. Now I was faced with the reality of living with a chronic disease.”
Due to her age, doctors initially suspected she had type 2 diabetes, and hoped lifestyle modifications might help to manage the disease. Additional tests soon revealed a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, and Velan learned she would need insulin therapy.
Over the next several months, she learned to count carbohydrates, control portion sizes and find time for 30-minute daily exercise sessions. She also says she thanked her lucky stars the disease was caught early, before she became pregnant.
According to American Diabetes Association experts, diabetes can be a significant complication for women during pregnancy. Because high blood glucose levels can cause birth defects in unborn babies, experts say it’s important for any woman with diabetes to carefully plan pregnancy and make sure her blood glucose levels are well managed from the very beginning of pregnancy.
“It was all for the greater good and my goals---learn how to manage my diabetes, get my blood glucose under control and then start a family,” states Velan, who says she completely “locked in” to her mission. “I told my doctors I didn’t care what it took and that I would do anything and everything I could to learn about and manage the disease so we could start our family.”
Initially unaware of her diabetes diagnosis and with an 8.0 A1C score---a test which measures average blood glucose control for the past two to three months---Velan intensified her exercise program. Following diagnosis, she started a diet and exercise regimen and within three months the level dropped to 6.5. The couple transformed their lifestyle together and watched everything they ate, focusing on healthy whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken. Within six months her A1C was down to 4.9.
“Even my endocrinologist was astounded and told me many people without diabetes don’t have that good of a reading,” says Velan, whose 6 a.m. pre-pregnancy workout sessions included a combination of cardiovascular and strength training.
Transitioning to four insulin injections a day after the type 1 diagnosis was a blessing in disguise, admits Velan, who says the insulin helped her prepare for pregnancy and to gain even better control of her diabetes. It also allowed her be less strict in regard to what she ate and to regain a few pounds she had lost.
After receiving her doctor’s blessing, Velan and her husband began their journey into parenthood and were thrilled to learn they were expecting not one, but two babies.
“Having diabetes and being pregnant placed me in a high-risk category,” she says. “With the discovery of twins, I shot to the top of the spectrum for high-risk pregnancies and began working very closely with a medical team including diabetes experts and my obstetrician.”
While she did carefully watch carbohydrate consumption and nutrition, Velan says that since she had type 1 diabetes, there wasn’t really a need to change her diet during the pregnancy.
“However, decisions on what you eat can impact the health of your baby,” notes Velan, who says doctors prepared her for the possibility her babies could be born early due to the added complication of diabetes. “They stressed the need to tightly control blood glucose to help reduce the risk of complications with pregnancy. I had to report every insulin dose and every blood glucose reading so my medication could be appropriately administered.”
As her body changed and as the babies grew, blood glucose levels fluctuated and treatment plans needed constant revision.
According to the ADA, the key to a healthy pregnancy for women with diabetes is keeping blood glucose (sugar) in the target range — both before and during pregnancy. For those like Velan with type 1 diabetes, pregnancy affects the insulin treatment plan as the body's need for insulin increases—especially during the last three months of gestation.
“We vowed to simply take things one day at a time,” says Velan, knew well the risks for pre-term labor, pre-eclampysia and other potential complications. “I began by taking care of myself and continued to take a 30-minute walk every day, when doctors advised against vigorous exercise while being pregnant with twins. I was vigilant about my nutrition, and worked with my medical team to manage blood glucose changes and insulin needs.”
Seven months into her pregnancy, Velan was placed on strict bed rest.
“With an anticipated Dec. 14 due date, no one expected I could make it much further into the pregnancy,” she states. “But after another seven and one-half weeks on bed rest, at 9 a.m. on Nov. 26, the Friday after Thanksgiving, I delivered two full-term, healthy six-pound baby girls at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital,” she says. “We named them Elizabeth and Caroline. Doctors did all the tests and everyone was absolutely fine. Four days later we were home.”
The twins, who celebrate their second birthday later this month, are active, healthy and a source of true motivation to continue a healthy lifestyle. Velan, who was moved into a new role as senior manager on Walgreen’s continuous improvement team, says her daughters also inspire her to reach out, working with others to find a cure.
“The girls are very curious when mommy takes her blood glucose or injects insulin before we all sit down for dinner,” explains Velan. “When I think about how I will explain diabetes to them as they get older, it’s hard to put into words.”
For the first time this fall, Velan and her family joined others in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk To Stop Diabetes.
“I’ve worked at Walgreens for more than a decade and my co-workers have become like a second family to me,” notes Velan, who says she is especially grateful for the support, encouragement and compassion of co-workers who continue to pick healthy options for lunch and ordered her a sugar-free cake to celebrate her 10-year service anniversary.
“They listened, learned with me about the disease and let me vent every step along the way,” says Velan, who recently was asked to spearhead company support for diabetes prevention at scores of nationwide ADA Step Out events. “Knowing they are here for me means a lot.”
By Janice Youngwith orginally published in the Chicago Daily Herald

Carlos Gravis

Riding to Stop Diabetes

My name is Carlos Gravis and I have lived in Montgomery for the past 10 years.

When my family and I moved to the Montgomery, we were looking for a doctor in the area, so we decided to go together to see a family practitioner, get a physical exam and decide if this was the doctor for us. I was shocked when a few days later I received a call from the doctor's office, asking for me to get a second blood test, as my glucose levels came up high. I was shocked and thought the lab must have made a mistake. My A1C measure was 7.0 At 5'10" and 137 pounds, I was officially a diabetic. There is no history of diabetes in my family. My diagnosis most likely resulting from poor diet, stress and a sedentary lifestyle.

We first tried to control the disease with diet and some lifestyle changes. Did not quite work. The doctor added Metformin to my treatment plan. This improved things somewhat, but by no means was I satisfied with the result. We had discussed the need for exercise, but with my long work hours and long commute, I could not find a way to fit it in my schedule. I finally decided, Why not ride a bike as part of my commute?

I started riding 4 miles to and from a local Park N Ride facility. This made all the difference! I became somewhat obsessed with bike riding, and today I ride up to 22 miles each day on most fair weather days. I soon became aware of the American Diabetes Association and their fundraising ride, the Tour de Cure. I have been involved with them as a volunteer, advocate and fund raiser for the past ten years, often riding 62 miles on their event. Today, my role is that of "Red Rider Chair". My job is to represent all riders with diabetes, and work to improve their riding experience at the Tour de Cure.

Today, I am 50 years old, live with my wonderful wife and beautiful daughter, and I look forward to many years of active and healthy life, thanks in part to the ADA and the Tour de Cure.

Laurie & Nick Diasio

A Mother and Son, Both Type 1

My name is Laurie Diasio. I am a 42 year old wife, mother, nurse and Type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed in 1975 at the age of 3 1/2. Compared to the technology available today 1975 was the "dark ages" of diabetes management. There was no such thing as a blood glucose meter - all testing was done with urine. Insulin consisted of beef or pork formulations - there was no human insulin. Needles were much thicker and more painful but we were able to use the needles more than once. We had a special place in our refrigerator that we kept the needles. Glucose meters, insulin pumps and insulin that mimic the type that is made by the pancreas have made it possible for better diabetic control.

Representative Mike Tryon

I have a family history of Type II Diabetes, so I have always known that as an adult I would have to make healthy lifestyle choices. My father and grandfather both had Type II Diabetes and were diagnosed in their 60s. I was diagnosed at the age of 51.

It was at the end of my first term in the Illinois House when I knew something was wrong. I was exhausted and felt horrible. I went to see my family physician and had a full physical, and a glucose tolerance test indicated that I was well on my way to becoming a diabetic. I adjusted my habits and paid greater attention to diet and exercise, and for a while that worked.

Several months later, I was attending an Expo in my district and visited a hospital’s booth where they were doing blood sugar testing. My blood sugar was an alarming 380, two hours after eating three tacos. That was a huge wake-up call, and soon after that I added medication to my diabetes management plan.

The lifestyle of a legislator is difficult, and often there are not good food choices available. Over time I have learned that I have to be very proactive with the management of my diabetes. Rather than relying on the unhealthy menu in the cafeteria at the capitol, I now either bring my lunch with me, or have a vegetarian lunch delivered from a Springfield restaurant that offers delivery. I count carbs and fat grams daily, have substantially reduced the amount of meat I eat, and exercise as much as my schedule allows. I enjoy cooking as a hobby, and enjoy finding recipes that help me keep my glucose under control.