JDRF Board Member Shares Mission of Hope for Fight Against Type I Diabetes

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) -- - About 1.25 million Americans live with Type I Diabetes. The Arkansas Chapter of JDRF is on a mission to better the lives of those impacted, while funding research to find a cure.

"She took me immediately to our doctor," JDRF Board Member Tammy Stephens remembered.

Stephens can still recall, as a little girl, her mother's concern upon discovering the warning signs of a disease that would forever change her life.

"They did some blood work and I was in the hospital that same day," Stephens explained. "And I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes."

Since that diagnosis Stephens has built a life for herself as a valued employee at the Walmart home office. She has also worked to find a way to combat T1D and joined the local chapter of JDRF's board of directors, in a role that JDRF Development Manager Lauren Sivewright says makes a big difference in the fight.

"Tammy has been involved with us for about three years now and she has always been willing to go above and beyond to help us bring awareness into the Northwest Arkansas community," Sivewright shared. 

Stephens feels it is important to make sure the kids diagnosed today know a cure will be found, and do not feel like she did when she first heard the word diabetes.

"The only thing I head in that sentence was die," Stephens offered. "And so I thought diabetes meant I was going to die and it was life-changing, but we've come so far since I was diagnosed thanks to JDRF."

Sivewright, herself, has seen how much better life can be thanks to a project JDRF supports; the artificial pancreas.

"I tested the future in the present and the future looks absolutely amazing, and it will change the life of millions when it hits the market," Sivewright raved. 

Until that day, Stephens is proud to be a part of the JDRF mission.

"To be part of an organization that is helping families educate ... and show them we're doing things daily to help change their kids lives so they don't have to live with this horrible disease for the rest of their life," Stephens said.

The efforts of JDRF are important to so many and they could use your support. Click here to learn more about all JDRF does, as well as helpful information, including their upcoming gala event in April.

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