'Quilt for Life' Display Set For Washington D.C. Mall -- Children's Colorful and Emotional Quilts Show True Face of Diabetes

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The Children with Diabetes "Quilt for Life" will be on display at the Washington D.C. Mall on June 8, 2006. In the Quilt for Life, diabetes is transformed from the impersonal to the personal, from the abstract world of numbers to the real world of children living everyday with finger sticks and insulin injections.

Birthdate. Diagnosis date. Pumping date. 3 am blood sugar checks. Wishing for a cure. Smiles. Lots of smiles. All are in the Quilt for Life, part of Children with Diabetes (http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com). For many, diabetes is about numbers. For us, diabetes is about Marissa and Sam and Lori and Justin and the tens of thousands of other children with diabetes. In the Quilt for Life, diabetes is transformed from the impersonal to the personal, from the abstract world of numbers to the real world of children living everyday with finger sticks and insulin injections. In the Quilt for Life, we all see the wonder of our kids and we rededicate ourselves to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

The Children with Diabetes Quilt for Life, a collection of hundreds of creative 3-foot squares, each representing a child with diabetes, will be on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2006 near the Capitol Building. Everyone is welcome to visit, view the quilts, meet with family members, and learn what living with diabetes means to our kids.

The Quilt for Life is a project of Children with Diabetes, a company that promotes understanding of the care and treatment of diabetes, especially in children. The quilt was the idea of Jeff Hitchcock, Founder of CWD. The idea was quickly adopted by the many families that participate in online support through the Children with Diabetes web site. It is intended to illustrate what living with diabetes means to our children.

“Our kids struggle daily to live normal lives amid the constant challenges that diabetes poses,” said Laura Billetdeaux, CWD events coordinator, and mother of a 16 year old son with diabetes. “We want to demonstrate that our children are real people with real hopes and dreams. There are literally tens of thousands of children with type 1 diabetes, and they want a cure now!” She added that quilt squares will represent children from across the United States and many from foreign countries.

Experts report that about 13,000 children develop Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes each year -- more than 14 times the number diagnosed with childhood AIDS. It is also more than the annual incidence of other childhood diseases, including muscular dystrophy, childhood cancers, and leukemia. Type 1 diabetes affects more than 1 million people in the U.S. alone, including about 176,500 people under age 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin, a hormone necessary to convert the food we eat into energy for the body. Treatment requires a strict regimen that typically includes a carefully calculated diet, planned physical activity, home blood glucose testing several times per day, and multiple daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump. In the more common Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, the pancreas can still make insulin and treatment typically includes diet control, exercise, home blood glucose testing, and in some cases, oral medication and/or insulin.

The Quilt for Life display is in conjunction with the 2006 American Diabetes Association Call to Congress and the 66th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association. The Call to Congress is the ADA's premier lobbying day, during which Diabetes Advocates from across the country meet with their elected officials in Washington, DC to discuss diabetes issues. CWD and the ADA are working together on several fronts, all aimed at helping families who have kids with diabetes.

ChildrenwithDiabetes.com is one of the largest diabetes-related web sites in the world. Each month it delivers millions of pages of unique content to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. The site includes real-life stories from kids, parents, and adults living with diabetes, chat rooms, email lists, and forums for support, detailed diabetes care information, plans for diabetes at school, information on diabetes camps for kids and families, and trusted medical content reviewed by a multi-national Diabetes Team.

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Jeff Hitchcock
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