Pella Windows and Doors employees help fund diabetes research
Whether they’re wearing tennis shoes and t-shirts to participate in local fundraising walks or donning high heels and evening gowns for elegant gala events, Pella® Windows and Doors employees have stepped up their efforts to help raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Since 2003, the Pella Windows and Doors team has raised more than $2 million for JDRF — the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research. Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research.
More than 80 percent of JDRF donations fund research and research-related education advances in every stage of type 1 diabetes, from prevention, to treatment, to efforts in search of a cure, said Mary Hunter, executive director of JDRF Greater Iowa.
“JDRF funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity, but there is more promising science out there than we can currently afford to fund,” Hunter said.
“Through the support we have from corporations like Pella Windows and Doors, we can deliver better treatments, and eventually a cure,” she said.
As a result of its leadership in helping others, Pella earned JDRF’s World Achievement Award presented by the Greater Iowa JDRF Chapter.
Pella Corporate Public Relations Manager Kathy Krafka Harkema served on the JDRF Greater Iowa Board of Directors for six years, most recently as vice president of communications. Krafka Harkema donated a kidney to her mother, who had type 1 diabetes.
“Those who live with type 1 diabetes typically take insulin every day just to survive. We know that insulin is not a cure, and that’s why Pella is dedicated to raising money for JDRF to help fund essential research,” said Pella spokeswoman Kathy Krafka Harkema, who donated a kidney to free her mother from dialysis, when her mother’s kidneys failed from type 1 diabetes. “Pella team members proudly raise money for JDRF to make life easier for those with type 1 diabetes and those who care for them.”
Jim Thomas, director of information technology operations at Pella, now represents Pella on the JDRF Greater Iowa Board. Thomas has a daughter with type 1 diabetes.
“As a parent, you are clearly reminded every day of very real impacts and concerns from this disease. It’s a constant battle wanting to understand and not be overprotective,” he said.
As many as three million Americans may have type 1 diabetes, according to JDRF. Each year, more than 150,000 children and 15,000 adults — about 80 people per day — are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.
For more information about living with diabetes, visit jdrf.com.
To make an online donation, learn about volunteer opportunities or find out about fundraising events, visit the Donate to JDRF page.
What is Type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes — also called juvenile diabetes — occurs when the body’s own immune system misguidedly attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, according to the JDRF website. These cells normally produce insulin, a chemical messenger that helps the body move sugar from food sources into cells throughout the body, which use it for fuel to stay alive. But when the cells are destroyed, insulin often isn’t produced, and sugar stays in the blood, where it can cause serious damage to organ systems of the body and can starve cells of their normal energy source.
People who have type 1 diabetes must balance insulin doses — either by injections multiple times a day or continuous infusion through a pump — with eating and daily activities throughout the day and night. They must also test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers or elsewhere for blood six or more times a day. Despite this constant attention, people with type 1 diabetes still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood sugar levels, both of which can be life-threatening.
The warning sings of type 1 diabetes include:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Sugar in urine
- Sudden vision changes
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Fruity, sweet or wine-like odor on breath
- Heavy, labored breathing
Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic and environmental factors are involved, according to JDRF.