Diabetes Preparedness and Natural Disasters

Mary Kate Cary Health Guide
  • The Hurricane Relief effort will probably have a pretty big effect on charity fundraising for a while, as 9/11 did a few years ago. I remember being involved in a diabetes fundraiser shortly after the terrorist attacks, and our position was, “The terrorists didn’t take diabetes away with them on 9/11. Diabetes is still with us and still needs to be cured.”

    The same is true now: Hurricane Katrina destroyed a lot of things; unfortunately, diabetes wasn’t one of them. If anything, we saw even more suffering among the hurricane survivors because of their diabetes. At one point I saw an image of folks stranded on top of a white roof, waving for help, standing on top of a spray-painted sign, with a red cross and red letters reading “Help! Diabetic!” I can guarantee every family with diabetes who saw that shot won’t forget it.
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    Imagine the stress that family was under, having to climb out onto the roof to be saved. Now imagine having to rush out so quickly that the diabetes supplies were all left behind, underwater in the kitchen two floors below. Forget about clean needles -- that family may not have had access to insulin for days. What would you do?

    If anything, disasters like this one make a cure more urgent. How much easier would it have been for rescue personnel if they didn’t have to worry about diabetes and all its special needs and complicating factors? If they could just rescue people. I can’t wait for the day when we don’t have to worry about needles and insulin and test strips and lancets ever again. We need a cure.
Published On: September 01, 2005