For a World Without Type 1 Diabetes
A leading global organization funding “Type One Diabetes (T1D)” research, JDRF works to raise funds for medical research, advocate for government support of research and new therapies, ensure new therapies come to the market and connect and engage those who have the autoimmune disease.
The Greater Missouri and Southern Illinois Chapter of JDRF is based at 50 Crestwood Executive Center, Suite 401.
Founded in 1970 by parents determined to find a cure for their children with T1D, the organization was originally called the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation; later it was renamed the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said Ally Bartholomew, the local chapter’s development manager.
“But, a few years ago, the name was changed to JDRF, to remove the misconception that this is only a childhood disease,” she said.
“About 50 percent of those diagnosed each year are adults. And nearly 85 percent of people living with the disease are over age 18. Our commitment is to funding research that improves life for people of all ages and at all stages of the disease.”
The organization is funded from individual and corporate donations, as well as fundraising events.
The St. Louis local JDRF One Walk event, featuring one and three-mile walks, is set for 9am Oct. 2 at Millipore Sigma, 2909 Laclede Ave. in St. Louis. For more information on involvement in the walk, call Laura Roeder at 314.729.1846.
Jay Wolfe Toyota of West County, in Ballwin, will be, for the second year, one of the leading sponsors of that walk.
Johnnie Andrawos, managing partner of the dealership at 14700 Manchester Road, lives in Wildwood. His son Andrew, 12, was diagnosed with T1D two years ago.
Bartholomew said sponsors like the dealership help ensure more funds collected go to research.
“Our goal is to raise as much as possible at the least expense – at least 80 percent of every dollar we raise goes to research at JDRF, to support research and outreach/educational programs,” she said.
Andrawos said that, in addition to being the presenting sponsor for the walk in 2015 and a main sponsor this year, Jay Wolfe Toyota also sponsored JDRF’s local gala in 2015.
“We’ve had multiple functions at the dealership to promote JDRF events,” he said.
“We have a team from Jay Wolfe walking this year including my son and me, other family members, employees and friends – last year, our walking team had more than 20 people; this year, we’ll likely have more.”
The local JDRF chapter also hosts a fundraising gala in the spring and golf tournament, in the summer; the tournament annually raises more than $3 million from all sources, including events, individual donations and corporate contributions.
“On our database, we have 30,000 people, both those with diabetes, as well as family members and supporters,” Bartholomew said.
“While we have five full time and two part time staff, we rely heavily on volunteers – for instance, it takes 300 volunteers to help us manage One Walk St. Louis.”
Hundreds of volunteers regularly help out and more are needed to help with: One Walk and for the golf tournament to next be held on June 19, 2017 at Forest Hills Country Club in Clarkson Valley and for the gala to be May 27, 2017 at a location to be determined.
Bartholomew said people like Andrawos make a huge difference.
“He has helped support JDRF on the walk as well as the gala and golf tournament,” she said.
“As soon as he hit the ground in St. Louis, he got involved with our chapter. He not only sponsored our events but he has engaged his vendors and supporters to also support our events, extending our reach wider, due to what he is able to do.”
Type I Diabetes is a disease that strikes both children and adults suddenly. At present, there is no cure. With the disease, a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin—a hormone the body needs to get energy from food. Those with it must constantly monitor their blood-sugar level, inject or infuse insulin through a pump and carefully balance these insulin doses with their eating and activity–day and night.
Even with the most vigilant disease management, fluctuations – with either high or low blood-sugar levels – place people with T1D at risk for potentially life-threatening hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic episodes as well as long-term complications such as kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation of limbs.
However, thanks to better therapies – which JDRF funding has been instrumental in developing and making available—people with T1D live longer and stay healthier while they await the cure, Bartholomew said. JDRF has invested nearly $2 billion in research funding since its inception and has more than 100 U.S. locations and six international affiliates.
“The focus is to find a cure for T1D but it’s been a hard disease to cure so we also work to keep people healthy,” Bartholomew said.
“We spend some research dollars on finding better treatments and to find ways to prevent it from happening.”
Andrawos said his son was diagnosed the day after he originally came to the St. Louis area. He’s been involved in the organization for two years and two months. In July of 2014, he became a board member of the JDRF local chapter.
“I saw an opportunity to get Jay Wolfe Toyota involved on the sponsorship level after I was approached by the previous local chapter director, sponsored an event at the dealership, met everyone and liked the people involved,” said Andrawos, adding an employee of his also has T1D.
“I wanted to be involved due to the cause of helping people – I wanted the dealership to be part of that education. The more I knew, the more I wanted to help. I’ve met several other families who’ve had members diagnosed with T1D.”
At the dealership, each person who mentions personal involvement with JDRF,when they buy a car, prompts Andrawos to donate $250 to the JDRF – or $300 if the person is a board member of JDRF.
“This organization does a great deal of good for the community,” he said.
“Any time I’m involved with other dealerships, I talk to people about my involvement and try to get people to commit to helping out.”
For next year, he plans to continue his involvement, likely with the gala and with the chapter’s walk in St. Louis and assisting with the St. Charles walk, starting in 2017.
For more information on the local group, call 314.729.1846 or visit JDRF.org/stl.