The conversation at today's JDRF school walk made me want to do a rapid cartoon-style shake of my head and blurt out my daughter's friends' favorite puzzled expression, "waitwhat???"

The message started clearly, with a review of what JDRF's acronym stands for, and what the organization does.  The kids had been prepared by a visit from a JDRF staff person a couple of weeks ago. They seemed familiar with the organization, and that the money raised was going to "help scientists cure diabetes."

Then the question arose as to why they were walking to raise money for this cause, as opposed to, say,  having a read-a-thon.  The kids knew the answer to this too, "because exercise helps prevent diabetes."


"Yes," the gym teacher would clarify, "a healthy lifestyle can prevent getting Type 2 diabetes when you get older."

Primarily, this program, in light of its being run by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is designed to raise awareness of, and funding for the cure of Type 1 Diabetes.  It teaches kids what Type 1 Diabetes is, and that its causes are completely different from those of Type 2.  It's designed to raise money to cure and treat Type 1 Diabetes, mostly through treatments completely different from those which would help those with Type 2.  It's designed to create sympathy and support for kids with Type 1 Diabetes from their fellow students.  Yet, for some reason, JDRF has chosen to throw a bit of Type 2 prevention into the program.

If there's a smart adult running the program, as there certainly is at our school, then the differentiation can be made clearer.  Unfortunately, I can guarantee that's not the case at every school holding a walk.  Therefore, there's plenty of room for the perennial Type 1/Type 2 confusion to surface.  At worst, kids will be left with the assumption that their classmate's Type 1 diabetes was caused by lack of exercise.  At best, they'll be left shaking their heads, saying, "waitwhat???"

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