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A cure is close, but action is required

With President Bush's recent veto concerning stem cell research funding, hope for finding quick cures to many devastating diseases has dimmed in this country. However, there is still a bright spot on the horizon for sufferers of juvenile diabetes.

Unlike type 2, or adult onset diabetes, juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease that only strikes children and young adults, and it can't be managed simply by changing eating and exercise habits. Also called "insulin-dependent" diabetes, the Type 1 version involves the complete shutdown of the pancreas, the body's natural insulin-producing organ. Without insulin, we can't process the food we eat. Blood sugars quickly climb to toxic levels while the body essentially starves.

Insulin injections provide life support to millions of Americans -- including my son -- but they aren't a cure. It's a daily game of "whack-a-mole" with life or death consequences, as sufferers alternately treat high and low blood sugar levels by administering insulin or carbohydrates. Over the long haul, diabetes takes its toll on the body, affecting the eyes, liver, heart, circulatory system, etc. It's not a pretty picture.

Luckily, through efforts of single-minded organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the likelihood of finding a cure during my child's lifetime is extremely high. Several promising therapies are coming closer to fruition -- from a "closed-loop" artificial pancreas that senses insulin needs and dispenses the hormone without human interaction, to targeted transplants of insulin-producing islet cells without the need for dangerous anti-rejection drugs.

The House and Senate have caught the excitement from their constituents over the closeness of a cure. In a rare show of bipartisan support, Senators Dorgan (D-ND) and Domenici (R-NM) have introduced a bill to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program. This past week, Representatives DeGette (D-CO) and Kildee (D-MI) introduced the House companion bill. These bills will extend the Special Diabetes Program for five years and increase funding from $150 million per year for type 1 diabetes research to $200 million per year.

Despite the tremendous support for the bill, JDRF is urging voters to contact their representatives this week to ask for their vote in favor of S.1494 in the Senate and H.R. 2762 in the House. To make it easy, JDRF has set up a Web page that will automatically e-mail your legislators and ask for their vote. It takes only a minute, and could help millions lead longer, healthier and happier lives.

To learn more about our family's efforts to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes, please visit or watch the video.

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RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By TomZ on 6/29/2007 11:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
The government is a huge and slow bureaucracy. They can't respond to all health threats for all people. Isn't it arrogant to assume that the needs and illnesses of everyone else's children are less important than yours? And that their taxes should fund research for your child's needs and not the needs of your children but not necessarily theirs?

Sorry, I should have answered this in my above post. No, I don't think it is arrogant, etc. I don't think he's saying that research for this form of diabetes is more important that research for other diseases or that it should consume all the available resources. He's just saying that it is something that is important to him, and therefore, he is an advocate for trying to draw attention and funding towards finding a possible cure. This seems elementary to me, what is the issue you see with his advocacy?

On a more personal note, are you a father? I personally cannot even bear the thought of one of my children suffering with a disease like diabetes. You can be damn sure that if I were in Steve's position, I would feel and react in a similar way to how he has.

By dever on 7/2/2007 2:22:27 PM , Rating: 2

I do have a child, and that is exactly my point. My point is that every dollar uncle Sam takes away from me is money I cannot use to benefit my child. (My family and I are self-insured with a significant deductable, so I feel a good chunk of every medical cost.)

Realize that even if the government were to confiscate every dollar of your income, there would still not be enough money to fund all of the potential research for various diseases and medical conditions. Because there is a limited amount of money, every dollar you spend on one disease is a dollar not spent researching some other disease. So, cost-benefit analysis is absolutely essential, and emotion must be put aside.

What if my child came down with some medical condition that is *not* being financed by our tax dollars? You've now implicitly stated that my child's problem is less important. And every other person who has a child who's problem is less well funded is now at a disadvantage.

How are they at a disadvantage, you ask? Because every dollar taken away from them, and thier family members and friends, and friends of their child through taxation, is a dollar that they now cannot use to research their own child's problem. That money is now unavailable because it has been confiscated by government and sold to the best medical lobbyist or the currently most glamourous medical research.

Yes, there will probably be *some* small correlation between the need and the alotment with government funding. But that correlation is almost random compared to the near exact correlation that would occur if these were left up to a free market.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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