The woman crying next to me was actually a friend, Pam McDermitt, whose daughter has Type 1 diabetes — or what we used to call juvenile diabetes. Pam was crying because Lift a Life Foundation, founded by David Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, gave $5 million to Norton Children’s Hospital to get the pediatric diabetes center off the ground.
With Type 1 diabetes, cells in the pancreas produce little or no insulin. It’s not the same as Type 2 diabetes, more commonly diagnosed in adults and often linked to obesity. For kids like Pam’s daughter, Colleen, coping with Type 1 diabetes can be a struggle. The new center at Norton Children’s Hospital will help educate newly diagnosed patients and their families to better manage their disease while the search for a cure continues.
The executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Lynnie Meyer, MSN, R.N., says today’s gift is part of a $12 million vision to expand pediatric services and conduct diabetes research at Norton Children’s Hospital.
Currently, more than 1,200 children are being treated for Type 1 diabetes by specialists at Norton Children’s Hospital and University of Louisville. Sadly, the incidence of Type 1 diabetes seems to be on the increase. Experts say locally about 150 children are diagnosed each year with the disease. The director of the new center, Kupper Wintergerst, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist, says this gift “elevates our care well beyond what has been available in our state.”