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Fighting for a Cure – Now is the time to Change things

Fighting for a Cure – Now is the time to change things

Type 1 diabetes can come with its frustrations – needless to say. In terms of every day living, there are all kinds of precautions you have to take, from watching how much and what type of meals you eat, to monitoring your blood sugar, taking insulin multiple times daily, and all of that amidst an often hectic work and life schedule.

It was hard for me too when I was diagnosed 5 years ago. I was not the most organized person back then, but organization is something you need to learn quickly with this disease. Step by step, you learn to adapt, you learn how to live with your condition and try not to let it get in the way of the things you enjoy doing.

The frustration I have in mind, however, is of a different kind. It’s when you are told that you will have this condition forever, that you will be dependant on insulin for as long as you live. That is one thing I refused to accept when I heard the news at 18 years of age, and today I use as motivation for the organization I am involved in – the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance.

But let me introduce the JDCA and share with everyone why we are such a unique diabetes advocate group, and what we hope to achieve. We are a non-profit organization and are entirely independent – we are not funded by any other institution, which allows us to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Our mission is to help the search for a cure for type 1 diabetes by building an alliance – a community of like-minded individuals who want to see efforts towards one greatly increased. We believe that although there hasn’t been a cure for diabetes since insulin was discovered close to 90 years ago, one is still very much possible. Science is making new discoveries every day, and there are some hard working people in the research labs that are driving us forward.

The problem, however, is that we are in danger of missing this momentum and letting it slip away. The reason for that is that although organizations such as the JDRF, ADA, and DRIF manage to raise big money in the search for a cure, not all of those donations go where promised. People from the diabetes community give generously, and are committed to fighting for a cure, but as our reports (which you can find on our website) show, only a fraction of the money is actually helping out the research labs directly.

As a united alliance of donors and members of the community, we want a few set things. First of all, we want people to continue to give and help out the charity organizations – money is definitely needed to find a cure. But we also want them to stand up and demand that the money really is going where they want it to. We want more transparency from the organizations, and we want more set targets – such as a proposed diabetes cure timeline, and a definition of what a Practical Cure would be. We are firmly convinced that adapting a more focused and goal-oriented approach will create more accountability and put positive pressure on the search for a cure.

It is an ambitious project, but one we must pursue and fight for if we are to see our dream come true and hear news of a cure that is actually in development. I know how often we encounter stories of “possible” or “one-day” cures – we have been hearing them for decades, and nothing has really moved forward. This is why we need a change of direction. We need to make the difference by having our voices heard.

I invite everyone to come visit our official website: http://thejdca.org/FAQs.html As well as the active blog we maintain, which is updated on a daily basis: http://jdca2025.wordpress.com/

The JDCA strives to be the Voice of the Donor for a Cure, and we need your support. As a society, we are at a stage where we can do and discover great things – science continues to amaze. But without changing the direction, without joining together and letting the people in charge know they depend on us and must regard our goals, we might very well miss this opportunity.

Getting involved with the JDCA has motivated and encouraged me to reach out to the diabetes community, meet new people, and be part of an important movement that has the real potential to influence the search for a cure. I encourage everyone with that dream to join our alliance – and remember, we are all in this together.

Stoyan Zaimov
Associate Editor
The Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance