Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Celebrates 40 years

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • When talking about diabetes, many of us can't decide whether the date of diagnosis is an "anniversary." It is not something to celebrate, but, for many, the date needs recognition.  It is emotional and sometimes it is deeply personal and hard to share. This is the reason JDRF struggled this year with whether to acknowledge their 40 year anniversary. 


    The conundrum is that some people feel the cure has not been found yet, but I think very differently.  For me, I can remember when my parents met Lee Ducat at a party she was giving at her house. What I remember was my father talking about the prospect of diabetes research and his role in it. It gave him hope and a focus!

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    At that time, the tools for diabetes management were slim. NPH and regular insulin were the only types of insulin available.  We used test tape to test urine, syringes were the size of most earring posts, and that was all we had.  Lee was anxious to find a cure, but, in the process, what has spawned is of far greater value!  We have far more information to determine direction for management - in addition to looking for a cure - due to all research that has been a success and a failure. In 1970, researchers knew little about the finite details of the genetic make up of type 1.  That's why the initial thought was that diabetes would be cured with a vaccine for the Coxsakie 4 B virus. 


    Today, we have much to celebrate, starting with blood glucose meters, pump technology, smaller gauged syringes and insulin advancement. What sits on the horizon is even better with more help on the way for managing tighter control and a vast network of research looking at our genetic make up to find the ultimate answer. 


    These changes in my life are due to a party that occured on May 21, 1970. That party at Lee's home started it all. The JDRF in 1970 raised $10,000 to help with one project. Today, the JDRF raises over 100 million dollars annually with $.84 on the dollar going directly to diabetes research!


    The Philadelphia chapter of JDRF is having their gala Saturday night and they are honoring Lee Ducat. I wish I could go, but the gala is SOLD OUT, a first for the chapter!  Perhaps worth noting, an anniversary can be a time of remembering and embracing those we have lost, the lives JDRF has changed, and the lives they will change. No one can argue the power of love and the power of a parent to change the world.


    Happy Anniversary, Lee!


Published On: May 20, 2010