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HAITI: Reprint of JDRF Letter to Diabetes Commmunity

Posted Feb 02 2010 12:00am
To: The JDRF Family
From: Shannon Allen, International Board of Directors
Adam Singer, International Board of Chancellors
Re: JDRF Program for People with Diabetes in Haiti
Date: February 2, 2010


In the midst of the tragedy in Haiti is an underlying story that touches the hearts of everyone with a tie to diabetes.

From our personal connections to type 1 diabetes - as a parent of a child with type 1 and an adult living with the disease for 30 years - we know that managing diabetes is incredibly difficult in the best of circumstances. We have had a glimpse of how challenging it is given the devastation and chaos in Haiti. One estimate says there are over 300,000 Haitians with some form of diabetes.

Over the past three weeks, several JDRF-funded investigators have selflessly volunteered their time and talents to work in clinics in Haiti or to gather and transport the supplies necessary for diabetes care. Their stories are heartbreaking. As one example, we would refer you to the website created by Dr. Mark Atkinson (http://www.theatkinsonsinhaiti.com/) a JDRF investigator who has, since the 1990s, been leading medical missions to Haiti. Mark just returned last week from nine days in Haiti.

A large number of JDRF voices have weighed in on this issue, and what we hear from them is consistent - the aid that is having the most impact is delivered efficiently through a number of professional, focused, and well-established organizations with long histories in Haiti delivering on such efforts.

Hearing this, JDRF's International Board has discussed the situation at length and determined how we can best respond as an organization and as individuals.

Firstly, we have been in touch with a number of our partners, both corporate and private, and will continue to encourage and support their efforts to provide diabetes supplies directly to the people of Haiti. Across the board, their response has been monumental. We have also been in contact with partners, researchers and medical professionals on the ground in Haiti, and will continue to coordinate with them to see what the Haitian people need.

Secondly, we have developed options for those within the JDRF community who wish to directly contribute to the cause. Ways you can contribute include:

  • The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), a partner of JDRF in programs around the world, has established the Diabetes Trust Fund for Haiti. The money collected will be used to support people with diabetes during the emergency and will help provide services for them in the longer term. You can contribute directly to the fund at http://www.idf.org/idf-diabetes-trust-fund-haiti.
  • The Insulin for Life Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that collects and distributes insulin and other diabetes supplies to needy people throughout the world. Insulin for Life, in conjunction with the IDF, is currently collecting supplies to be sent to Haiti to be distributed through the Haitian Foundation for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases (Fhadimac). Donations of insulin, syringes, alcohol pads and glucose test strips may be mailed to:

Insulin for Life USA
PO Box 2840
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

Please note that it is vital that any donated insulin and test strips must not be past their expiration date, or they will not be accepted. For more information, or to contribute financially to help cover shipping costs, you can go to http://www.insulinforlifeusa.org/.

  • Fhadimac houses the only dedicated diabetes clinic in Haiti, which, amazingly, is still standing and providing services. They are overwhelmed yet are somehow able to give care to the many Haitians with diabetes showing up with no medicine, food, shoes, etc. As of this weekend they received a shipment which allows them to support 200 Haitians with diabetes for a month. We know that we can make a huge improvement for them by spreading the word. To support their efforts, please visit: http://www.fhadimac.org/index-e.php

Finally, we anticipate that in the coming months, hundreds, or even thousands, of Haitians with diabetes may relocate temporarily or permanently to the United States, Canada, and other countries where JDRF has a presence. JDRF leadership will work with our local chapters to welcome and support these people as they arrive in our communities. One of our great strengths is our ability to help those affected by diabetes by the outreach efforts of our chapters.

These steps represent an initial program to provide JDRF volunteers and staff with opportunities to help people in Haiti with diabetes. We will continue to monitor the situation and report on the efforts of our JDRF friends there.

If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to email JDRF atoutreach@jdrf.org, with Haiti Relief in the subject line.

Thank you for your generosity and willingness to help the Haitian diabetes community at this time of critical need.

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