View from The States

04 September 2017

James Ron, one of our great advocates in the USA recently wrote about his son’s diagnosis and why he supports the program:

‘’When our two-year old son, Sacha, was first diagnosed my wife, Emma and I scrambled to figure out how to get him the help he needed - long and short-acting insulin, syringes, test strips, Glucagon, HbA1Cs, etc. etc. - we wondered, "how do parents in poor countries cope?"

We were blindsided by the disease, but we also benefited from access to a medical hotline staffed by excellent diabetes educators. Our local pharmacy, moreover, was open at all hours, and never lacked for supplies. Although the medicines were expensive, we could make it work. How, we wondered, did this kind of resource-intensive care get delivered to parents and children living in places where the medical infrastructure was limited, where medications were often unavailable, and where refrigeration for insulin was expensive, or even non-existent?

To learn more, I took a trip in 2010 with Life for a Child to a clinic they support in Nagpur, India, accompanied by two of my son's pediatric endocrinologists from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. I learned first-hand how difficult it is for parents who make only a few dollars a day to keep their children with T1D alive. Sure, T1D parents and patients have it difficult in North America. Yet our struggles pale in comparison to those faced by parents living on modest incomes in India, Sudan, Mexico, and the 39 other countries where Life for a Child works.

Since that trip in 2010, my wife and I have done site visits to medical clinics supported by Life for a Child elsewhere in India, Morocco, Rwanda, and Mexico. My wife is a member of the US board, and I help out whenever I can. I can attest, through personal experience, that this is a well-run, bare-bones organization that wastes not a single penny. It partners with pharmaceuticals when it can, but requires the help of many individual donors to survive.

From his office in Sydney, Australia, Life for a Child General Manager and Co-founder Graham Ogle has carefully managed the provision of life-saving medical supplies to over 18,000 children worldwide for over 15 years. He is the most hard-working, trustworthy, and dedicated man I have ever met. Indeed, his peers know that Graham is an amazing guy; in 2013, his life of international service was recognized by the American Diabetes Association.

Please help Graham and his colleagues do all they can to get insulin, syringes, test strips and more to parents around the world. Without our help, these parents will struggle to keep their children alive and in good health.

Recurring monthly donations are particularly important, as they will give Life for a Child the financial stability it needs to plan ahead, assume responsibilities, and keep the support flowing from one part of the global T1D community to another.

The global T1D family is all in the same boat. Some of us, however, have better oars than others; we should help out when we can. Please consider giving a recurring, monthly donation to support a child with insulin, syringes, BG test strips and education materials. You can donate here.’’

James Ron, Harold Stassen Chair of International Affairs, University of Minnesota

Dr James Ron and Manish

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