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Team ICHP raises over $500 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund and Walks to Cure Type 1 Diabetes
by Colleen Bohnenkamp, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) One Walk was held on Sunday, October 3rd at Montrose Harbor in Chicago. It was the 3rd year Team ICHP has participated in the walk, and our team raised $505 to benefit Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Research in the pursuit of creating, “A World without Type 1 Diabetes.”
The morning began with live music and several welcome activities. Vendor booths offered samples of products for patients with Type 1 Diabetes, such low glycemic bars. The opening ceremony was kicked off with a warm-up from Pure Barre©, followed by the singing of the National Anthem, and a short speech from Ron Santo, Jr., who spoke of how his late father had two wishes in life - a cure for T1D, and for the Cubs to win the World Series. Looks like one of his wishes has become a reality this year!
My husband, who does not work in healthcare, joined me on the walk this year as I was 9 months pregnant. Before we began, he shyly asked me, “What is Type 1 Diabetes”? While I giggled and was surprised he wasn’t aware of the disease, it occurred to me that the majority of the population probably is unaware of the implications of T1D. In fact, I’m sure many families with children suffering from T1D had little to no prior knowledge of the disease and the lifetime commitment it entails prior to diagnosis.
I explained to my husband that T1D is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin. It most commonly presents in childhood and has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. It results in families and young children being forced to learn how to count carbohydrates and poke themselves several times per day to check their blood sugar and administer insulin. In addition, close monitoring of the types and amounts of food they can eat and their activity levels is required. There can also be considerable anxiety about the potential complications of low blood sugar, such as seizures. Add the potential of several long term health complications, such as heart and kidney disease, and it starts to become clear what an onerous disease this is.
With our own child arriving in a few short weeks, I think my husband really began to understand how challenging and burdensome this disease can be, and how finding a cure should not simply be a wish, but needs to be a reality! Although I suppose I should not have giggled too much about his lack of T1D knowledge, as I had to embarrassingly ask him, “Who is Ron Santo”?
As we walked along the beautiful lakefront trail, two things were apparent: the power of community and the support it provides to T1D sufferers. The walkers who suffered from T1D proudly wore bandanas, signifying their daily reminder of what it means to live with this disease. Several also wore distinct shirts or apparel to differentiate themselves from their supporters. As we walked together, the presence of a unified community coming together to support each other and achieve a common goal of raising funds to stomp out T1D was inspiring. Together, the Chicago walkers raised a total of $939,547.21!
The race concluded with lunch from Buona Beef, live music, face painting, and entertainment from the Jesse White tumblers. As in previous years, Project S.N.A.P. was on site to turn our individual art pieces into a collective mosaic that will be completed and available for online viewing beginning in December at projectsnap.org. While Team ICHP did not have as many walkers as in previous years, I am so proud that we continue to support such an important cause and seek opportunities to make an impact in the lives of others.
On behalf of Team ICHP, I want to sincerely thank everyone who donated to support our team or who joined us on the walk this year. The Chicago walk was just one of more than 200 One Walk locations across the country. If you are interested in learning more about T1D research, participating in a walk near you, or would like to make a donation to the JDRF, visit www.jdrf.org/walktocure.
Ron Santo’s dreams have come true! No more next years! #FlyTheW #AWorldWithoutT1D
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since completion of this article, author, Colleen Bohnenkamp, has given birth to a healthy baby boy! See sweet Theo in the November ICHPeople.