NBA Coach Caron Butler and JDRF Raise Awareness About Type 1 Diabetes and Early Detection to Improve Health Equity

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT

NEW YORK, June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy non-profit, joined NBA Miami Heat Assistant Coach and Racine, Wisconsin native Caron Butler and his family at the city's annual Juneteenth celebration to raise awareness and educate the public about T1D and the importance of screening and early detection to achieve better health outcomes for adults and children in BIPOC, rural, and underserved communities.

JDRF (PRNewsFoto/JDRF)
JDRF (PRNewsFoto/JDRF)(PRNewswire)

Caron and his family have been raising awareness and advocating for the diabetes community since his daughter was diagnosed with T1D at seven years old. Gia was hospitalized at the time of her diagnosis due to extremely high blood sugar levels and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening condition if not immediately addressed. T1D is an autoimmune disease that affects both adults and children at any age regardless of diet, family history, or lifestyle choices. Like Gia, each year in the U.S., nearly 50% of children and adolescents experience DKA at the time of their diagnosis with T1D. Simultaneously, nearly 40% of adults with T1D are initially misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes and may not be prescribed an appropriate medical regimen or receive adequate diabetes education. Screening to determine if you are at risk for developing T1D early, along with close monitoring for the symptoms of T1D can help to avoid serious conditions like a diabetic coma and DKA at the onset of the disease.

"My daughter Gia had an unquenchable thirst, lethargy, and she was vomiting daily but we didn't know these were symptoms of type 1 diabetes," said Caron Butler. "This continued for a couple of weeks and as her symptoms worsened, she had to be rushed to the ER where we learned she was in DKA and diagnosed with T1D. We're sharing our story to raise awareness and help others avoid similar life-threatening experiences."

The City of Racine's week-long Juneteenth celebration brought the community together for an NAACP Freedom Walk, youth basketball camp, HBCU fair, and educational workshops on health and financial literacy sponsored by Chase Bank. It culminated with a festival at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center where JDRF and the Butler family spoke with community members and families about T1D and the JDRF T1Detect program, an education and awareness program for T1D screening and early detection.

"We're grateful to Caron Butler, his family, and the City of Racine for joining with JDRF to educate the public about T1D and the importance of screening," said Dr. Aaron Kowalski, Chief Executive Officer of JDRF. "The T1Detect program is a critically important effort towards the early detection of T1D and achieving better health outcomes. With a simple blood test and monitoring of symptoms with a diabetes healthcare practitioner, adults and children can avoid misdiagnosis and life-threatening conditions at the onset of T1D."

There are three main ways to get screened for T1D—through a research study, at your doctor's office, or screening at home. All should be done with a healthcare provider along with close monitoring for symptoms of T1D.

For more information about T1D and the JDRF T1Detect program, visit JDRF.org/T1Detect.

About Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)

T1D is a chronic, life-threatening autoimmune disease that can strike children and adults at any age. It requires rigorous 24/7 monitoring of blood glucose levels—even overnight—to avoid potentially lethal highs and lows in blood sugar, as well as other devastating complications like kidney, eye and nerve diseases. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset is sudden and is not related to diet or lifestyle. In T1D, the body's immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, meaning the body produces little to no insulin to regulate blood sugar and get energy from food. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

About JDRF

JDRF's mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).

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