A Letter to JDRF from a Volunteer

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The following blog post was written by a JDRF Illinois volunteer and mother to a child recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). This is their story.

JDRF is one of those organizations that you have the luxury of not knowing much about until you find yourself in the pediatrician’s office, hearing the words, “It looks like type 1 diabetes.”

Those next days in the hospital are both a blur and full of vivid moments, as you learn details about a devastating disease and the complicated way you and your loved one will learn to manage it.

It’s overwhelming and frightening.

Suddenly, the name JDRF is everywhere. It’s behind the technology you will use to monitor diabetes. It’s behind the medicine you will use to manage blood glucose. It’s behind the community your child will feel when their Bag of Hope arrives. It’s behind the marathon your sister-in-law will run to raise money for T1D research.

Suddenly, JDRF will be the most important organization you’ve ever known. JDRF is why diabetes management is more sophisticated – and possible – than ever.

JDRF is why, when our son asks, “Will there be a cure for me?” I can say “yes.” And when he asks, “How soon?” I can say, “We don’t know when the cure will come, but I promise it will get easier to manage every year.”

We have bottomless gratitude – and that doesn’t even seem like a big enough word for it – for all the work JDRF did while we had the luxury of not knowing much about it. We also have hope.

Hope is a word that gets used a lot at JDRF. Hope means that we believe the future is going to look even better tomorrow for people living with T1D than it does today. Hope means that wherever you are on your Type 1 journey, JDRF is there to provide the next step – whether it’s a connection to another family, information about pumps, or simply encouragement, with the latest research on solving the daily problems of type 1 diabetes.

JDRF is more than a research organization. It’s a community. It’s the next step on your journey. It’s a place of integrity and innovation. It’s what’s going to save us, and it’s what’s going to cure our loved ones.

Thank you, JDRF. For how far you’ve come, when we were not even looking, and how far we know you will take us, now that we cannot take our eyes off of you.

~ Margaret Jessen Kelley, mother of Edgar (born in 2010, diagnosed November 2021)