By Sanmai Gbandi
This year Delta Epsilon Psi raised $8,000 for diabetes research.
The fraternity presented a check to a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation representative at a lecture, “Juvenile Diabetes: Its Impact and the Race for a Cure,” held Wednesday night in the Baines Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center.
They have raised $18,000 over the past three years to help fund diabetes research.
The organization’s main philanthropic endeavor is diabetes. Whatever money they raise throughout the year goes to the foundation in order to help fund research related to finding a cure and prevention for Type 1 diabetes.
Coppell senior Azaan Ramani, president of Delta Epsilon Psi, says it is important to raise awareness about this disease.
“It’s important to not only know about diabetes but to put a face on it,” said Ramani, “so people know what they are looking for.”
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is unpreventable. According to the American Diabetes Association, only 5 percent of people with diabetes have this form. People who have Type 1 diabetes have bodies that do not produce insulin. Insulin is needed to convert sugar and starches into energy.
There is no cure for this form of diabetes. Those who are diagnosed can only learn to manage it with insulin therapies and by monitoring blood sugar closely.
It can be managed, but it is still an unpredictable disease.
Associate professor of sociology, Dr. Kevin Dougherty was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was three years old.
“Diabetes in our country is the leading cause of blindness and the leading cause of kidney disease,” Dougherty said, “and it’s in the top 10 killers of all diseases. Last year we lost over 200,000 Americans because of diabetes-related complications.”
Dougherty stressed the unpredictability of the disease. He talked about a specific incidence where he was admitted to the hospital after a workout. Even though he worked out that time of day before and never had any issues with his blood sugar.
“It’s those type of uncharacteristic and unforeseen circumstances that make living with diabetes such a wild and not always enjoyable ride,” Dougherty said.
Dallas freshman Sam Spradlin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4.
Spradlin, who chooses not to wear an insulin pump, tests his blood sugar about 15 times a day and administers about seven to ten injections of insulin a daily. Spradlin played basketball competitively throughout high school, which required him to constantly be aware of his blood sugar. He monitors his food intake carefully, making sure he always has food with him just in case his blood sugar gets too low.
“It hasn’t really stopped me from doing anything I want to do,” said Spradlin, “It just requires a little extra effort.”
Kristen Pool was at the lecture to receive the check on behalf of JDRF. She has as teenage son who lives with this form of diabetes. She talked about the mission of JDRF and what they hope to see in the future.
“The first thing they would like to do is find a cure,” said Pool, “I can’t tell you it’s right around the corner, but I can tell you they’re closer now than they were 10 years ago.”
Raising awareness and increasing the public’s general knowledge about what diabetes looks like, Pool says, is really important.
“The more you learn, the more you are being an advocate,” Pool said.