Insights into diabetes

Dana was 12 when she was diagnosed with Type One diabetes, the kind often called “Juvenile” diabetes to distinguish it from Type Two or “Adult Onset” diabetes.
                Type Two diabetes usually results from lifestyle choices – overeating, lack of exercise, stress – plus some genetic factors. Type One diabetes is an auto-immune disease; the person’s immune system destroys the islet cells in the pancreas that create insulin to control blood sugar levels.
                The primary difference between the two forms of diabetes is that Type Two is reversible. Change your lifestyle, lose ten pounds, and you may be able to avoid insulin injections. Type One is not reversible. Once you have it, it becomes your life.
                Dana was athletic, played sports, was trim and fit – until April 18, 2011. “It was the worst day of my life,” says her brother Reid, who came to talk to us last Thursday. (I haven’t given Reid’s last name, because the names of juveniles – his sister -- should not be published.) “On that day 12-year-old sister had to realize that her life was totally changed.”
                Dana’s life now revolves around constant blood monitoring, and up to eight insulin injections a day. At an age when other teens gorge themselves on greasy burgers and poutine, she needs the self-discipline to watch her diet. If her blood sugar levels fall too low, Pam Prentice, the main speaker on behalf of the Diabetes Research Foundation, she could die in her sleep.
                There are about three million people in Canada with diabetes. About ten percent of those are Type One – incurable. But research is now finding better ways of monitoring and delivering insulin; ways of transplanting islet cells and stimulating the pancreas; and ultimately preventing the pancreatic breakdown that causes diabetes.
                The complications caused by diabetes can include blindness, kidney breakdown, loss of feeling in fingers and toes, poor circulation resulting in amputations…
                Some families rise to the challenge of having a child with diabetes. “You do what you have to do,” said Pam, whose son was diagnosed at the age of two. He’s now 16. “Other families just cave to the stress.”

Food Bank news

                Bob Rymarchuk spoke about his presentation to the Lake Country Council on Tuesday night, asking them for bridge financing of up to $250,000 to enable construction to start this spring. “I don’t expect them to have to pay that,” Bob said. “It’s like a loan guarantee. I’m quite sure, once the shovels go into the ground, that the community will rally behind this project and provide the donations. But we need to know soon if we can proceed with the project.”
                At the moment, about $140,000 has come in as donations. On January 27, we should know if we have won $100,000 from the Aviva Fund. Until then, everything is in a holding pattern.