A note from Clara

October 1, 2011 • Posted in blindness, radio, Uncategorized, writing by

That's Clara Livingston on the right, with her pals Allie and Glen, at last year's walk.

Chicago Public Radio asked me to write a commentary about stem cell research back in 2004. In the recorded piece I mention a couple girls I know who have Type 1 diabetes:

Raechel is 13, goes to Prairie Middle School in Barrington, and loves to dance. Clara just turned eight. She goes to Lincolnwood Elementary in Evanston and can’t wait for summer, when she can head to the pool and go feet first down the water slide.
Both girls have worn insulin pumps. Both prick their fingers six or more times a day to monitor their blood sugar levels.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes) 45 years ago. Insulin pumps and home blood monitoring devices were not available when I was a little girl. Thanks to those advancements, Raechel and Clara have a good chance of avoiding the disease’s dreaded complications – including blindness.

I pointed out in my commentary how much Raechel and Clara have already benefited from research and technology. “But without more research, both girls will have to continue living with the disease.” I told public radio listeners that I can’t know whether stem cell research will find a cure for diabetes, or if it will help prevent rejection to those of us who opt for new islet cells or a new pancreas. “But I sure wish we could find out.”

Those two little girls I mentioned in my radio piece are lovely young women now. Raechel is in college, and Clara goes to Evanston High School. Time flies, but still there is no cure for diabetes.

Our dear friend Russ is Raechel’s dad. Every year he rides in the century bike ride Ride to Cure Diabetes to raise money for diabetic research. Mike rode with him a few years ago, too. Clara’s family participates in the annual Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes in Chicago every year, and that’s going on tomorrow, Sunday, October 2. There’s still time to pledge online to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and join in the search for ways to cure, better treat and prevent Type 1 diabetes. Here’s Clara’s letter explaining why this is so important.

Hello! This year, we’ll once again be taking part in JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes, along with one-half million other walkers across the country, as we try to reach our goal of raising $89 million.

I was diagnosed at the age of four years old. Over the past eleven years I have raised over $133,000! This year we hope to top $150,000 total. This can only be done through your generosity and support.

JDRF is our best hope for finding a cure. It funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide and it’s making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure. We are asking you to help support our fundraising efforts with a donation. Your tax-deductible gift will help make a difference in the lives of people with type 1 diabetes.

It is faster and easier than ever to donate. Simply click on this link to donate online.

Any amount, great or small, helps JDRF get closer to its goal of finding better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes. We greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on our progress.


Clara Livingston

If you prefer mailing a gift check to JDRF in Clara’s name, leave a comment here and I’ll email you the Livingston’s mailing address. If you choose to donate by check, you should make the check out to JDRF, just make sure to include “Livingston Family Team” in the memo section. Thanks to all of you for taking time to understand what juvenile diabetes is all about, and…go, Clara, go!

Gretchen On October 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

Wow Beth. You are one of the best people I know.

bethfinke On October 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Aw, shucks. It’s a topic I’m close to. Hoping for good weather tomorrow…

nb On October 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

wow, 3 gorgeous girls there, that is for sure. Looks like tomorrow will be the perfect fall day for everyone who is walking.

bethfinke On October 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

Yes, gorgeous girls and a gorgeous day.

Rhona On October 2, 2011 at 4:04 am

Beth – thanks so much for supporting the Livingstons — I have watched Clara grow up and she is a totally amazing lady!

bethfinke On October 2, 2011 at 9:31 am

Clara is something special, in large part due to the wonderful family, mentors and teachers (like you, Rhona!) she’s grown up with…

Anne On October 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thank you for writing. Sunday was a lovely day to walk and look out at the thousands of people who want a better life for those who live with Type 1 diabetes like my 15 year-old son, Jack. We will keep walking and pushing for that cure!

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