Type 1 vs. Type 2
Type 1 diabetes typically develops during childhood, although it can strike at any age. It is not preventable and for unknown reasons the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Without insulin, the body's cells cannot absorb or use glucose (sugar), which is needed to make fuel.
Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes, is more common than T1D and can develop at any age, even during childhood.
In Type 2, the cells of the liver, muscles and fat do not use the insulin effectively. Being overweight and inactive causes increased demand on the pancreas to produce more insulin but over time it loses its ability to produce enough insulin in response to meals.
Treatment for Type 2 diabetes is oral medications, making wiser food choices and increasing physical activity.
A local little girl is rallying her team once again this year to raise money to help fund diabetes research.
Ellyana Nugent was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in February 2009 when she was barely three years old.
"We don't know why God chose her but I believe He wouldn't have done so if he didn't think that she would be able to manage a life with diabetes," said mom Jill Cottingham.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an illness that often strikes in infancy, childhood or young adulthood, although it can begin at any age.
For reasons unknown, that body's own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
Now six years old and in Grade 1 at Sacred Heart School in Ladner, Ellyana tests her own blood sugars four to six times a day and receives insulin injections up to three times a day.
She does not let her disease slow her down. Ellyana played soccer for the first time last fall and is now on a field hockey team. She also loves to ride ponies, ride her bike, play at the park and sing in the choir. She said her next big goal is to try violin lessons.
Once again this year, Ellyana is rallying her team Ellyana's Crew for the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes. The annual event aims to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which funds research and offers support to children dealing with the disease and their families.
Cottingham said she found great support through the JDRF soon after her daughter's diagnosis.
The foundation connected her with another mom of a diabetic child and they spoke for an hour on the phone.
"The understanding of someone else helped me cope," she said. "Even though I am a critical care nurse and have worked in the emergency department at B.C. Children's Hospital, it was my child now who needed care in the medical system."
JDRF was founded in 1974 by a group of concerned parents of children with diabetes. They believed that funding diabetes research was the only way to find a cure and to this day JDRF maintains that goal.
Currently, thanks to the dedicated researchers right here in Canada, innovations such as the Artificial Pancreas Project, glucose-responsive insulin and encapsulated islet cells are moving out of the lab and into testing in people, with the goal of creating healthier, easier, safer lives for those with T1D. JDRF is currently funding more than 50 human clinical trials.
Cottingham said the Walk to Cure Diabetes has become an annual event for the family, and it's one that Ellyana looks forward to every year.
"We have been so fortunate to have generous donors who support us yearly and we are all striving to find a cure for diabetes," she said. "The day is fun, encouraging and emotional all at the same time. We all gather together as supporters of a loved one. We gather to challenge diabetes and how it changes you. We gather to see Ellyana laugh with her new-found friends and remember that we all have something in common, and something we can find a cure for."
The Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes began in 1994 and takes place in communities across the country every year. Ellyana and her team will be taking part in the Fraser Valley walk on June 10 at Abbotsford Exhibition Park.
Ellyana's Crew has a goal of raising $6,000 and has a fundraising pub night planned for May 26 at the Boot and Sombrero in Ladner. Tickets cost $25, which includes a meal and a beverage. The event will also include a 50/50 draw and silent auction.
"We would like to thank each and every business in Ladner and Tsawwassen that has contributed items, again," Cottingham said. "We are so grateful for everyone's support."
To purchase tickets to the pub night, donate an auction item or make a donation to Ellyana's Crew, call Jill Cottingham at 778237-6144.
For more information about the walk or the foundation, visit www.jdrf.ca.