Awareness is the goal on World Diabetes Day

Rep. Garry Smith reading the proclamation at the State House. Allen Wallace photos.

Sir Frederick Banting may not be a familiar name to most people in 2018, but the Canadian scientist born on Nov. 14, 1891 saved more lives than can be counted. Working with two other researchers, he discovered how insulin can be used to manage diabetes, hence the designation of his birthday as World Diabetes Day, and November as National Diabetes Awareness Month in the U.S.

At the State House in Columbia Wednesday, Rep. Garry Smith read a proclamation issued by Gov. Henry McMaster acknowledging World Diabetes Day and the deep impact of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the state.

Smith said in addition to being personally affected by the disease (several of his family members are fighting it), diabetes and related complications are the No. 1 cost driver at South Carolina hospitals.

“It’s something that hits home with me. This is something so many families in South Carolina have to deal with,” Smith said. “From a policy standpoint, this makes sense to me also.If we’re ever going to get our Medicaid and get our health care under control, that’s going to have to be a primary part of it.”

Smith was joined by representatives of the JDRF Palmetto Chapter and the American Diabetes Association.

“Managing type 1 diabetes (T1D) and avoiding its dangers are constant and life-long tasks, so it helps to have a strong, supportive and educated community that understands the needs of T1D families,” said Kevin Simmons, JDRF Palmetto Chapter executive director. “We are thankful to the Midlands for its support and encouragement during NDAM and every month of the year. With your help, we’re determined to create a world without T1D.”

“The focus today is just raising awareness,” added Elizabeth McCrary, development coordinator for the JDRF Palmetto Chapter. “We want people to know what those warning signs are.”

Christina Bickley, executive director of the Carolinas region for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), said raising awareness also includes providing correct information, eliminating myths and fighting discrimination.

“People with diabetes deserve the same opportunities as everyone else,” she said.

In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes, according to the ADA.

Information and resources for those who have diabetes or simply want to know the warning signs is available at diabetes.org and jdrf.org.

Categories: Columbia, Education, Richland County

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