Chances are you know someone with Type 1 one or Type 2 Diabetes, but how much do you really know? As a kid, Jaxin Anett loved being outside and spending time with her horses. However, life wasn’t exactly a pony ride for the six year old when she was first diagnosed. Some kids had imaginary friends – instead, Jaxin had a Constant Glucose Monitor.
By now she’s learned how to deal with her Diabetes and how her body works best. She said that most of all, she’s learned patience. “Some days it’s really stressful, really hard, and I’m just fighting with my blood sugars all day, trying to get them to come down and be a normal level, or sometimes just come up and stay up,” Jaxin explained.
Eating right is important, and so is the insulin she takes daily. But these things aren’t a cure; they’re simply treatment. Even eating all the right things and using insulin properly, there are always a few scares. More than once Jaxin’s blood sugar has dipped dangerously low in the night, which can be life threatening.
I walked the sidewalks of BYU campus to see for myself what students know. I asked them to identify two symbols – first, the pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon, and second, the blue Diabetes ring. Students identified the pink ribbon without fail almost instantly. On the other hand, not one recognized the symbol for Diabetes, which is admittedly, and to Diabetes supporters’ chagrin, less widespread. When invited to guess what the symbol could be, responses ranged from “I have no idea” to “Like, some company?”
Interestingly enough, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly twice as many people in America die every year from diabetes than do from breast cancer. In 2015, the count for Breast Cancer deaths was 41,523. In comparison, in 2016 there were 80,058 reported deaths caused by Diabetes.
Undergrad students at the BYU research labs are trying to change that. Research materials can be expensive, but these students are determined to find a cure. Westin Elison, one of the student researchers, has an even more personal reason to find a cure. “My wife has Type 1 Diabetes, and that’s what brought me to the lab,” he said.
Students from all three BYU Diabetes labs have been planning the fourth annual “Sugar Rush 5K” to raise money for their research. They’re especially excited that the diabetic participants will be wearing different colored shirts from the other runners. That way, the runners can directly see who their money is benefitting.
The race is this Saturday at 9 a.m., and you can register for $12 online at www.sugarrush.byu.edu.