Jennifer Rabideau is helping Hawaii Island young people with diabetes to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Walk to Cure Diabetes” in Waipahu on Nov. 2. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)
When a child is diagnosed with diabetes, it affects the entire family. Diabetes requires families to adopt a “new normal” and learn to adjust to a new lifestyle.
North Hawaii Community Hospital and the Diabetes Wellness Center are on a mission to help a group of Hawaii Island young people with the disease realize they are not alone by giving them a chance to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Walk to Cure Diabetes” in Waipahu on Nov. 2.
“This race is very important for kids here on the Big Island,” said Jennifer Rabideau, diabetes educator and coordinator for North Hawaii Community Hospital. “Our kids don’t have the opportunity to go to diabetes camp and interact with other teenagers and adults that have diabetes, so being a part of this walk is a way for them to get involved and interact with other people who also have diabetes.”
Teens living with diabetes benefit from the support of being around other teens who share the same diagnosis. By participating in the walk, Big Island teens will experience the sense of unity that comes from being a part of a team. It is a positive experience and a reminder that they are not alone.
“Hawaii has the third highest rate of diabetes in the nation,” Rabideau said. “Research has shown that Asian Pacific people are more prone to diabetes, however they haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly why that is. Type 1 is different than Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 (sometimes called juvenile diabetes), may sometimes be caused by a virus, and has a genetic component, where Type 2 diabetes has more of an environmental cause. Not only is this walk a great experience for the kids, but it’s also an opportunity to raise money to find a cure.”
The group is seeking donations to help the kids reach their goal of attending the walk on Oahu.
“We’re desperately looking for people who are willing to help with airfare, either through donating frequent flyer miles, or through a cash donation,” Rabideau said. “The kids are required to raise at least $100 before they are able to attend, so any donations are very much appreciated.”
Rabideau feels that this event will have a huge impact on the kids attitude toward their disease and its limitations.
“This is an event that we would like to have the entire island to participate in. We don’t just want patients who are seen at North Hawaii Community Hospital. We have kids coming from Hilo as well, and we’re trying to get the word out to the entire island that everyone is welcome to join us in the walk,” Rabideau said. “We’re hoping for a great turn out, and hoping that lots of people are going to come forward and help us in obtaining the funds for the airfare.”
Rabideau said that attending the walk will be kids between 10 to 17 years old, as well as the adults accompanying them. She said that to help with expenses, Hank Correa Realty donated all of the T-shirts for the team.
“We’re asking everyone that would like to join us for the walk to contact us at the Diabetes Wellness Center so we can tell them how they can join the team,” Rabideau said. “We really want to thank everyone in the community for their ongoing support of the different events that we host and hope that everyone will pitch in and help with the Walk to Cure Diabetes.”
For more information about how you can help, contact Rabideau at 881-4496.