Doing Good: JDRF Arkansas Fighting to Make Type 1 Diabetes ‘Type None’

Doing Good

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. The organization’s strength lies in their exclusive focus and singular influence on the worldwide effort to end T1D.

“We want people to walk away educated as to what JDRF is,” JDRF Arkansas Development Director Casey Matsko explained.

JDRF has been around for decades. In that time they have helped to fund advances making a difference in the lives of those with Type 1 diabetes. Matsko shared how the organization is focused on making sure you know the basics about the disease.

“What Type I is, what the difference is between Type 1 and Type 2, how people develop it, what happens to the body and what your future is going to be,” Matsko said. “And that’s why we’re working so hard to find a cure to turn Type I into ‘Type none.'”

JDRF Development Manager Lauren Sivewright points to the organization’s child ambassadors as a big part of the education process. Sivewright said it gives the kids, who all have Type 1, a much needed outlet to feel like they are actively doing something to fight the disease.

“We do monthly activities, whether it be a community give-back or, if it’s a fun activity, where they just get to be kids with their fellow friends for the weekend,” Sivewright offered. “So we do a lot of things with the ambassadors.”

Sivewright said the benefits the ambassadors get from their involvement, whether it be the shared experience of knowing what it takes to always be aware of the blood sugar levels, or just trying to be a carefree kid. Now adults can take part with a new JDRF support group that will meet for the first time this month.

“A lot of people think, with Type 1, you can outgrow it which that is not the case,” Sivewright explained. “If you’re diagnosed with Type 1 you will have it for the rest of your life until we cure this disease.”

Through fundraising events like the ‘JDRF One Walk’ and the upcoming ‘Run for the Roses Hope Gala’ on May 4, 2019, the organization is able to make an impact.

“Our mission is very important and so we want everyone who goes to our events to walk away with knowledge of how they can be involved and what we’re doing to change the world,” Matsko shared.

JDRF funded research has brought about major advancements to treat T1D, including the artificial pancreas that is expected to hit the market in the near future. Click here to learn more about JDRF, including the new adult support group and the upcoming Run for the Roses Hope Gala event.

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