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JDRF is the largest non-profit funder of type 1 research in the world, funding the best research around the globe.

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JDRF - Supporting Families With Type 1 Diabetes

JDRF Continues to Provide Resources and Fund Research To Defeat Type 1 Diabetes In South Carolina

Kevin Simmons, South Carolina market director for the Georgia South Carolina Chapter of JDRF, knows exactly what families go through when a child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Twelve years ago, when his daughter was just 9, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The diagnosis was a complete shock and to him and his family. Like other families faced with the diagnosis, Simmons felt fear and confusion.

"No one in our family had diabetes. I noticed that she was going to the bathroom a lot, which is one of the signs but I didn't think much of it," he said.

An ophthalmologist eventually noticed the girl's eyesight was declining and told the Simmons to take her to a doctor immediately. That's when they learned their daughter was one of the 1.6 million people living with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.

"The biggest fear is of the unknown. The diagnosis hit us like a ton of bricks," Simmons said.

Simmons now works for JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) where he helps other families transition with the diagnosis. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with T1D are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive.

From funding innovative research to advocating for government action to providing a support structure for the community, no other organization does more to fight type 1 diabetes (T1D) than JDRF. In addition, the organization provides resources, information, guides, and a community for families living with type 1 diabetes.

In South Carolina, JDRF works with three major hospitals to provide Bags of Hope for families with children in the hospital, especially those newly diagnosed. The bags include pamphlets, resources, tools and a big teddy bear named Rufus.

This year, the organization has seen an uptick in children being diagnosed with the disease. COVID may have something to do with that as those with diabetes tend to have a harder time with the virus. 

"In the last two weeks, we've had 10 new diagnosed children in South Carolina alone," Simmons said. "The general public has little knowledge about type 1 diabetes and the difference between type 1 and type 2."

In an effort to educate and also fund needed and continual research, JDRF is currently in fundraising mode. On Nov. 1, 200 teams in South Carolina and Georgia took part in the One Walk. 

JDRF One Walk is the largest T1D event in the world, raising more than $1 billion for T1D research. For the first time ever, the goal was to walk 1.6 million miles in support of the 1.6 million Americans living with T1D.

As the leading global organization funding T1D research, JDRF's mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. 

The JDRF Hope Gala is set for spring but due to COVID, the Hope Gala will once again be a virtual event.

"The South Carolina Georgia Chapter has a goal of raising $1.9 million by Dec. 31," said Simmons. "South Carolina's goal of that is $390,000."

To learn more about JDRF, to volunteer, or to donate, visit

  • Funds raised by JDRF in South Carolina and around the country help drive research towards improved treatments a cure of type 1 diabetes.
  • JDRF is the largest non-profit funder of type 1 research in the world, funding the best research around the globe.
  • JDRF Ride to Cure program is a wonderful way to support JDRF while staying fit on a bicycle either on the road or from the comfort of your own home.
  • Rufus, the teddy bear with type 1, is the centerpiece of the JDRF Bag of Hope which is provided to children diagnosed with type 1 at any  partner hospitals.