invited to stroll through stunning vineyards as we made our
way to picnic tables shaded by giant oaks trees. While we
munched on lunch, Clarence the Clown entertained us with
colorful balloons, magic tricks and his own brand of nutrition
humor: "Cannibals donít like clowns, you knowÖthey
an unorthodox kick-off to the annual Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation (JDRF) "Walk for a Cure,"
acknowledged chairperson Sandra Silvestri, who hosted the
event at her family-owned vineyard in Carmel Valley, Calif.
reminder though, of some unique treatments coming down the
pike to control and one day cure this serious disease.
type 2 diabetes that is closely tied to genetics, excess
weight and lack of exercise, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune
disease. In type 1, the body ó for some unknown reason ó
attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing cells. Since
insulin is vitally needed to direct energy (glucose) from food
into cells, people with type 1 diabetes are dependent on
multiple daily injections of insulin for survival.
son, Joey, now 24, was 2 years old when he was diagnosed with
type 1 diabetes. Type 1 doesnít just strike children,
however. It can affect adults as well.
you donít get type 1 diabetes from eating too much sugar. A
lack of insulin causes excess sugar (glucose) to a build up in
the blood and leads to major complications, however. And
because insulin doses must constantly be matched to food and
exercise habits, extreme highs or lows of blood sugar levels
are a constant threat to a person with type 1 diabetes.
where JDRF comes in. Besides funding research to find a cure
for type 1 diabetes, this charitable organization provides
support to families who live with this disease. A mentoring
program, for example, pairs newly diagnosed children and
adults with those who know what itís like, says JDFR
representative Mia McKee.
the money raised by JDRF goes directly to research and
clinical trials, says Silvestri. "Weíre working all
ends of the spectrum," she said, "so this help gets
into the hands of our loved ones."
example, researchers are now testing an artificial pancreas
ó a device to automatically control blood sugar levels based
on a personís daily habits. And a "smart" insulin
that turns on when it is needed and turns off when itís not
is currently under investigation. "JDRF will lead us to a
cure," said Executive Director Julia Rickert. And that
takes continued funds for research. So to this end comes
kick-off event ended with a bit of wine tasting in the
Silvestri barrel room hosted by winemaker Frank Melicia.
oneís got some giddy-up," he said about one particular
do these faithful volunteers and workers for JDRF, I thought.
turn type 1 into type none," Silvestri concluded. Letís