November 19 Named Type 1 Diabetes Day in NJ
On Monday, November 19, the State of New Jersey recognizes “A Day in the Life – Type 1 Diabetes Day” for the first time. The overall aim is to elevate awareness and educate the public on the distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas produces no insulin. Contrary to popular belief, type 1 diabetes is not a childhood disease. Rather, it occurs at every age, in people of all backgrounds. And although type 2 diabetes is more prevalent, approximately 40,000 New Jersey residents live with type 1 diabetes, according to JDRF, the type 1 diabetes advocacy and research organization.
“The theme of ‘A Day in the Life’ is fitting because living with this disease requires daily action. There are no ‘off days’ for people with type 1 diabetes,” says Virtua endocrinologist Jean Marie Davidson, DO. “At Virtua, we partner with our patients to provide the tools, training, and confidence they need to manage this lifelong disease.”
Jake Semple, 26, of Delran, New Jersey, was 5 years old when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“Everything I knew changed that day; even now I remember it vividly,” Jake says. “Diabetes forced me to grow up more quickly and become more responsible at a young age.”
Jake says that despite best intentions, most people he meets misunderstand the disease: “People automatically assume I have type 2 diabetes, and usually don’t know the difference anyway. It’s awesome that there will be a day dedicated to the distinction.”
He also hopes that his new job, as an office assistant in an endocrinology medical office, will put him in a position to help others.
He says, “Given all the time I’ve spent in doctors’ offices, you may think it’s crazy that I would want to work in one, but I’m hoping I can use my experience to connect with patients and ease their worries.”
“A Day in the Life – Type 1 Diabetes Day” is the end result of a joint resolution brought forth by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey, and endorsed by Assemblyman Roy Freiman, Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy.
Houghtaling and Downey issued the following statement: “We are asking the residents of New Jersey to walk a mile in the shoes of a neighbor living with type 1 diabetes in order to gain a deeper understanding into the challenges they face on a daily basis.
With so many of our residents impacted by this disease, it is important that we do our part to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and establish a supportive community upon which New Jerseyans living with diabetes can rely.”