Guest Post: Alabama PWDs Need Your Help.
This guest post is from fellow diabetes blogger Victoria Cumbow, and her message couldn't be more important. She is a journalist by day and a diabetes advocate by night. She works a journalist for The Huntsville Times in Huntsville, AL, and is actively involved in her local diabetes community. Victoria regularly blogs about her life as a young professional living with type 1 diabetes at Dia-Beat-This, and tweets as @victoriacumbow. And today she's writing about the tornadoes in Alabama and their effect on our fellow PWD. Please read her post, see if you can help, and pass this info on!!
Last week, my state was devastated beyond belief after a series of tornadoes swept across the northern counties of Alabama. In Madison County, where I live, eight people died. In DeKalb County, 33 people lost their lives. In another county, 39 people died. In another, 35. So far, more than 230 lives have been lost, but in Tuscaloosa, more than 200 people are still missing and unaccounted for.
As a newspaper journalist, I've seen this devastation first-hand. It's beyond anything you can imagine. The pictures don't show the pain and the suffering. The pictures don't show the heartbreak and the loss. Volunteers have stepped up and answered the call, but there's another need people sometimes forget in moments of natural disaster and chaos -- the needs of diabetics.
In Alabama, 10 percent of the population lives with a form of diabetes, per the CDC. So what the pictures don't show are the dozens, if not hundreds, of diabetics affected by these storms. I spoke to a woman three days ago who called me desperate for insulin. She had enough Novalog to last two more days, but had been without Lantus for several days. She couldn't reach her doctor because there was no power throughout the county for six days. Through donations from the DOC, she now has a vial of both.
So in addition to the disaster left behind by the twisters, we were left to pick up the pieces in the dark. No refrigerators, no gas, no cell phones once they died. People lost every belonging they owned, and some lost every diabetic supply they had stored. No meters. No strips. No glucose tabs. No pumps. No way to test ketones. With no power, the only thing to eat were carbs and junk food. Most proteins were lost with the power of refrigerators.
I wanted to help, but from my newsroom, I couldn't do very much other than through my words. So I began to write. I blogged about our immediate needs and people began to respond. I blogged more, I tweeted more and I Facebooked more. People from across the DOC answered the call. And they're not finished yet. We are still in need of many supplies. For starters, the biggest needs include meters, strips and all types of insulin. Beyond that, anything else is appreciated. You can send:
- pump supplies
- alcohol swabs
- batteries for pumps and meters
- glucose tablets
- ketone strips
And anything else you can think of. Please make sure all supplies are unopened and not expired. If mailing insulin, please package properly. Also make sure any personal labels are removed from the packages.
All supplies can be mailed to the Huntsville JDRF office at 2225 Drake Ave., Office 17, Suite K, Huntsville, Alabama 35805. Mark the box as D-Supplies for Tornado Relief. Address them to Victoria Cumbow and Karen Morris.
So far, this volunteer effort has been incredible as local JDRF and ADA offices are working together with local politicians, the Medical Reserve Corps and local endocrinology offices. As a friend said, a ripple is small, but many ripples make a wave.
To further these efforts, you can also help by making a donation to the local Alabama Red Cross at this address: 1101 Washington Street, Huntsville, AL 35801. People can also donate $10 to relief efforts by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999. Help make a wave!!!