OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The first Tee Up Fore a Cure tournament was hosted by Trane Mid-America for JDRF at the Tiburon Golf Club.
JDRF, an organization dedicated to support and research for Type 1 Diabetes, hoped to raise $25,000 towards research for advancement and prevention. Golfers were able to register for the event by purchasing a ticket online, with the proceeds going directly to research. A silent action was also held online through Trane, and surpassed its goal of $10,000.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control said Nebraska has a 44% increase in diabetes during a ten year time period, being the second highest increase in the country. People affected by diabetes are demanding a cure, and will do anything it takes to make their quality of life a little bit easier. Both Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 affect about 175,000 people, and 1.25 million people with Type 1 Diabetes in America.
"If we don't do something to stop that, then by the year 2050 there could be 5 million Americans with Type 1 Diabetes," says Chris Dunn, Development Manager for JDRF.
Some Trane Mid-America employees and JDRF advocates hold diabetes close to their hearts. Ashley Whaley, Rental Account Manager for Trane, said her son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age five. She added, "We literally are making mathematical calculations everyday to manage his care. We are essentially acting like his pancreas."
After Whaley's son almost died from a hypoglycemic seizure in his sleep, she was determined to join the movement. She said she's grateful to be a part of an amazing cause and hopes one day there will be a world without diabetes.
Whaley wasn't the only one there with a diabetic child. Dunn has two children with Type 1 Diabetes, and another volunteer for JDRF, Tracy Smith, has a daughter living with it too.
Smith said children "should be able to live their life like any other child, but instead they're poking their fingers, they're checking themselves, they're giving shots, and they're managing every food that goes into their mouth."
There has already been major advances to Type 1 Diabetes. Dunn's children are already wearing first generation pancreas technology.
"Within the next few years, it's even more exciting. One of the things I'm most excited about is called Beta Cell Encapsulation," said Dunn. This means that implemented cells will be able to secrete insulin into the body on their own.
Prevention was also on JDRF's list of research funding. They say that a stomach virus called Coxsackie B could trigger the onsets of Type 1 Diabetes. Dunn said if a vaccination is successfully created, up to 50% of new Type 1 cases will be prevented.
JDRF wanted to raise awareness about another form of diabetes, called Diabetic Retinopaphy. Golfers were able to try on a pair of glasses that mimicked how it feels to live with the condition, and if they didn't want to golf with the glasses on, they had to pay $5 a hole. Diabetic Retinopathy impairs the vision and causes a person to see floaters and black dots.
Trane is already talking about their next collaboration with JDRF, and are excited for their next golf fundraiser.