2003-10-31 / Community

Seats Going Quickly For Juvenile Diabetes Fundraiser

By Brendan Brosh
Seats Going Quickly For Juvenile Diabetes Fundraiser By Brendan Brosh

Juvenile Diabetes is a growing problem in Rockaway as well as in the nation as a whole.

Many Rockaway children suffer from the illness and have to go off the peninsula to get the weekly (and soemtimes daily) treatments that are needed by those who have the disease.

To address that problem, Beach Properties and Management, Inc. is sponsoring a fundraiser to benefit the Peninsula Hospital Center (PHC) Diabetes Treatment Center for Children and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The dinner will be held at the Beach Club (Beach 116 Street and the Boardwalk) onThursday, November 13.Tickets will include an open bar, auction and raffles.

Event organizers are seeking to add a Pediatric Endocrinology unit to Peninsula’s new diabetes center.

"There is no hospital capable of dealing with juvenile diabetes in Rockaway," said organizer Tina Lopez, a Rockaway resident. "Pediatric Endocrinology is a specialized field and children from Rockaway have to go to Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan or to Long Island Jewish Hospital in Floral Park."

In the event of an emergency, Rockaway parents have to drive at least forty-five minutes to the nearest hospital capable of treating diabetic children. Currently, Peninsula’s two-month old diabetes center is only equipped to treat diabetics who are 16 years and older. A new facility would give those families and children another option, one that would make it easier for children to get treatment and much more likely for parents to access that treatment on a more regular basis.

Lopez, whose daughter Alexis was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, also hopes to establish a support group for diabetic children and their parents in Rockaway.

"There are families in Rockaway with diabetic children and we’re going through the same thing together," said Lopez.

Daughter Alexis has a new bond with her father, Daniel Lopez. Less than two weeks ago, Mr. Lopez was diagnosed with diabetes. Now they check their blood sugar together and bike together daily on the boardwalk.

As Halloween approaches, diabetic children must take extra precautions. "Alexis can’t pop candy like the other kids," said Mrs. Lopez. "Parents and children know that one mini Reese’s peanut butter cup is one unit insulin."

Children with diabetes need at least five blood tests a day and a structured diet. Early warning signs for juvenile diabetes include constant thirst, bed-wetting and general disinterest. With proper care, however, children with diabetes can grow up to lead normal adult lives.

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