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Jeremiah and Rachel
Jeremiah and his mother, Rachel

Why I give to SECC and what I have learned about diabetes

By Rachel Pullen
Administrative Services Officer, Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs

(Sept. 22, 2005)--Ten years ago my son Jeremiah was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age 15. It was a very heartbreaking time in my life, but it made me aware of how many -- one out of every 3,000 children -- are stricken with this disease.

My granddaughter Kaylee also was diagnosed with diabetes at the tender age of six. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. It is for this reason that I contribute to SECC, in hopes that one day there will be a cure to benefit my son, who is now 25, and my granddaughter, who is now 11.

Jeremiah graduated from UT Austin and even though he's an adult now, often asks when a cure will be found. He self-injects insulin daily, usually before meals and at nighttime.

Kaylee attends New Boston Elementary School in Texarkana. She sometimes gets very frustrated at the fact that Mom has to wake her up in the middle of the night to give her the insulin. She, like my son, takes insulin shots daily before meals and sometimes at night.

When my son was diagnosed, I learned that diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to produce or properly use and store glucose, a form of sugar. Glucose backs up in the bloodstream causing one's blood glucose (or blood sugar) to rise too high.

There are two major types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (previously known as juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent) usually occurs in children and young adults. This is where the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that enables the body to use glucose found in foods for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to survive.

Type 2 diabetes (previously known as adult-onset or non insulin-dependent) is the most common form of diabetes. The body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. This form of diabetes usually occurs in people who are over 40, overweight and have a family history of diabetes.

Many times type 2 diabetes can be controlled with the proper diet, exercise and prescribed medication. Today, type 2 diabetes is increasingly occurring in younger people, particularly adolescents.

For my son and for my granddaughter I support SECC. UTSA, I ask you to give. Find a charity, any charity, listed in your SECC agency directory. Support one, support several.

Thank you, UTSA, and thank you SECC for helping Jeremiah and Kaylee make it through each day.

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The charitable campaign ends Sept. 30, but there is still time to fill out your donation form and return it to your Area Champion. You also can donate online to SECC through the UTSA Hurricane Information site.

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