RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) --According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research foundation, about 15,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes every year. Every day, research is being done to find a cure, but that cure can't be found without help from the community.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is a global organization aimed at doing several things. The most important goal of JDRF is to find a cure for the disease. The organization also has local chapters throughout the world, including one right here in Northern Nevada.
"It's life changing," those are the words Dr. Traci Pitts used to describe the day she found out her son, who was 6 at the time, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She says it came as a shock to her family.
"As a parent of a newly diagnosed child with diabetes, you're getting up every few hours in the night, you're checking their blood sugars constantly, you're doing this for years, so it exhausts the parent, it exhausts the child," Dr. Pitts said.
Traci says when her son, Hunter, was first diagnosed, she received a call from volunteers at the local JDRF chapter. She says volunteers told her family it was to be okay. The organization had such an impact on Traci, that she decided to be become a board member and serve as the research chair.
"If i had to come up with one word to describe JDRF for families, that word is hope, hope that there will be a cure," Dr. Pitts said.
When a child in our area is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the doctors, with parent's permission, contact JDRF. Volunteers then visit the family at the hospital or at home and bring them a "hope bag." Inside is a teddy bear that has spots to show children where they will be getting shots and where they can test their blood sugar. There's also a few cook books and stories for children about living with the disease.
"We let them know that even though this very horrible life changing event has happened, they can still we are still here, it's okay, it's going to be okay," Dr.Pitts said.
Traci's son Hunter is now 17, and he goes with her to visit children in the hospital who were just diagnosed or having complications. Everyday she looks at Hunter, she hopes researchers are that much closer to finding a cure. Even though her son is almost considered an adult, she says the worry about this disease is never going to go away.
She says research can't happen without community support and donations.
"I think Northern Nevadans have a huge heart, they know that these kids go through a really tough disease," Dr. Pitts said.
JDRF does two big fundraisers throughout the year, all for one goal, to find a cure.
"I think one day we're going to open the paper and it's going to say we found a cure! and you can say you were a part of it, that's really cool," said Dr. Pitts. One of the biggest fundraisers of the year is happening on May 3rd, 2014. It's called the "JDRF Vision Gala." It's being held at John Ascuaga's Nugget from 6pm-10pm. For more information you can visit http://northernnevada.jdrf.org/event/2014-vision-gala-wild-for-a-cure/