Standing up together to fight Type I diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes)

by Forrest Sheng Bao

Sam Witwicky, you hold the key to earth's survive. - Transformers, 2008

He who saves a single life, saves the entire world. - Talmud, cited in Schindler's List

Give a lot smart people the funding to do their job. I am a professor. I know that people in research labs can do miraculous things if they are given the resources to do it. - Dr. Randy Pausch, in advocacy to Pancreatic Cancer Action network

I have a friend. She is very passionated to research and very happy everyday. Yesterday, she told me that she has Juvenile Diabetes. I said, "What!" I thought diabetes was only for elderlies. She is only 19.

So I did some Google search. The result shocked me. There are 3 million Americans suffered from Type I diabetes. 40 children per day are diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Sadly, there is no cure right now. They have to inject insulin in their whole life to control the blood sugar level. Otherwise, the high density sugar in the blood could damage their organs.

The number of diabetes patients is increasing world widely. Currently, there are 246 million patients around the world. According to World Health Organization, the number could be more than doubled by 2030. In America, totally 8% of the population has diabetes.

My brain turned blank when I read that the diabetes could cause many complications, such as blindness, heart attack, kidney failure, etc. I don't remember where I read a data that patients has a very high rate to get blind in 5 years. Oh, no, what's going on? She wants to be a PhD. You can't make her blind!

Of course, we spend a lot of money and resources to fight with this disease. In 2007, diabetes accounted for $174 billion in health-care costs in the U.S. 1/5 American health-care dollars were spent on diabetes patients in 2007. An estimated 22 percent of hospital inpatient days in the U.S. were incurred by people with diabetes in 2007.

Despite of the huge amount of money we spend, diabetes is still taking people's life away. Diabetes is the fifth (or sixth, from different sources) leading cause of death world widely. It kills one American every three minutes. Oh, no, shut up. Stop telling me bad news like that!

But, we have our heroes. Scientists around the world are developing the cure to this chronic disease. They have many smart ideas, such as islet transplantation or revoking the beta-cell to generate insulin again. Though they are not applicable yet, the clinical trials for some methods are going on. So please count on our heroes. One day, we can cure this disease.

But while scientists need funds to do research to save people's lives, stupid US congress and the idiot president are still burning money in Iraq. Now we are joking that NSF (National Science Foundation) stands for "Not sufficient funds". The congress likes putting money in Iraq rather than saving Americans' lives.

So what do we do? "We are the cure." Let's turn the hope to some non-profit organizations, raising funds to support the research.

Few weeks ago, I joined the IEEE Texas Tech chapter team in the "Race for the cure" event in Lubbock, TX. It is a non-profit organization devoted in providing research funds for scientists to fight with beast cancer. They have the races and walks all over the nation to prompt the public awareness of beast cancer and thus raise money for cancer research.

This July, Dr. Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University died of pancreatic cancer. He is my hero. I wrote a blog to memorize him. Before he left the world, he testified in front of the US congress asking for more funds on pancreatic cancer research. He also made two non-profit organizations famous, Lustgarten foundation, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).

To Type I Diabetes, we also have such organization, the JDRF (Juvenile Diabets Research Foundation). We also have an American Diabetes Association. But they seemed focusing on Type II diabetes research more.

I have donated money to both PanCAN and Race for the Cure before. So today, when I found JDRF, I decided to donate some money to them. I know how important a seeding grant is. Without the generous $25, 000 research fellowship and $35, 000 grant, I can't make my first paper on epilepsy signal processing published. It will appear on a very good AI conference and we are having more impressing results coming out. So when our small donations (e.g., 20 dollars) sum up, we are giving the chance for scientists to cure the disease. If I wanna help my friend, maybe giving scientists some research funds is one of the best ideas.

Tomorrow is her birthday. Luckily, I can make a tribute donation. So, I donated 20 dollars and put her name as the honoree's name. I also pray to God to give wisdom to scientists and relief her from the disease ASAP.

The battle against diabetes is not over yet. We should continue moving on. Here is a list of things you can do to help JDRF funding Juvenile Diabetes research. Please help spreading the words to your friends and let more people be aware of this disease.

Remember, "United we stand". In 1977, after many years fight of medical personnels all over the world, there is no smallpox patient in the world anymore. When we stand up to fight together, we will win this time too. May God bless us and may He renew our strength.

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