Saturday seminar will help families learn to live with Type 1 diabetes

Every year in the United States, 13,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, more than 1.25 million American children and adults deal with the disease every day.

Diabetes requires vigilance. But with some practical knowledge, you can become your child's most important ally in learning to live with the disease, says Hailey Ordal, facilitator of the Medford-based T1 Dynamite Support Group for youth with Type 1 diabetes.

The scarcity of resources in Southern Oregon for young people with Type 1 diabetes can make living with the 24/7 condition “overwhelming and complicated,” Ordal says.

To that end, Ordal is presenting a free diabetes education seminar Saturday geared to families with children coping with Type 1 diabetes and families who are interested in cutting-edge technology to monitor and treat the disease.

“After a recent diagnosis, away from the protected environment of a doctor’s office or the hospital, it can be pretty scary for parents to send a child to school,” says Ordal, 18, who lives with the daily challenges of Type 1 diabetes.

To help parents advocate for their children, Ordal has invited Taylor Simon from the American Diabetes Association to present “Safe at School,” which will include strategies to help even young children learn to manage their condition when they are away from home.

The seminar will run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Smullin Health Education Center on the Asante campus, 2825 Barnett Road. Other presentations include glucagon training and an introduction to continuous glucose monitoring.

Ordal noted that “learning how to mix and deliver life-saving glucagon during a diabetic crisis can save a life.”

Glucagon kits are critical when a diabetic becomes hypoglycemic and is unable to take sugar by mouth.

“If you are unconscious, glucagon can be injected by others while awaiting medical assistance,” she says.

Continuous glucose monitoring devices, Ordal says, provide real-time glucose readings, throughout the day and night, and “allows parents to even track remotely,” she adds.

“They can keep an eye on the child while they’re at school, a sleepover or wherever,” she says.

At Saturday’s event, TrialNet will offer free screenings to relatives of Type 1 diabetics. According to the American Diabetes Association, these folks are 15 times more likely to develop the disease than the general population.

A positive result can set in motion prevention protocol that may postpone a diabetes onset, Ordal says, adding that in her own life “that would have meant over 41,000 fewer finger pokes and insulin injections I wouldn’t have had to do.”

For more information, email Ordal at southernoregon1d@gmail.com.

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