Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the most severe form of a disease that annually accounts for more than $100 billion in health care costs in the U.S. alone. Usually striking before the age of 30, type 1 diabetes takes a harsh toll on people. Not only will they be insulin-dependent for life, but devastating life-limiting and life-shortening complications such as blindness, amputation, heart disease and stroke, and kidney failure are an ever-present threat. Insulin is not a cure for the disease—it is merely life support.
Type 1 diabetes is destructive both to children and to childhood. Controlling the disease requires 24/7/365 vigilance and imposes a grueling regimen. It includes eating a carefully calculated diet, checking blood glucose levels several times each day (by lancing a finger) and insulin injections—as many as six per day—or delivery of insulin through a pump just to stay alive. It means children and families living by the clock, day and night, for the rest of their lives—lives that turn out to average about 15 years less than normal.
You can't outgrow type 1 diabetes. As JDRF International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore has said, "Diabetes is an all too personal time bomb which can go off today, tomorrow, next year, or ten years from now—a time bomb affecting millions...one which must be defused." The only solution is a cure. That's why JDRF has a singular mission: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research as soon as possible.