By Brock MacKinnis, Elsie McEloy, Will Kamps & Thomas Henbest
The College Diabetes Network is a national group that services over 259 college campuses across the country. Here at UWGB, the on-campus chapter held a game of Jeopardy to inform the public about diabetes. This event was held between 6 PM and 7 PM in Phoenix Club Room B on Wednesday, April 26th, on the UWGB campus. Though there were only seven attendees playing the game, the energy in the room was fun as the two teams competed against each other.
The Jeopardy topics included Diabetes History, UWGB History, Diabetes Tech, UWGB Campus Life, Life as a Diabetic, and general facts about Green Bay. After the event, Matt Pawlowski, the founder of the UWGB chapter of the College Diabetes Network, was gracious enough to answer some questions. When asked about the significance of the network and these events, Matt said, “College Diabetes Network is meant to be a place where those with Type 1 diabetes can come together and relate to each other’s pains. For those without diabetes, the Network provides a helpful place to inform the public and negate harmful stereotypes.”
The College Diabetes Network (CDN) was started in 2009, founded by a girl named Christina Roth. Christina was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14. This diagnosis made life difficult for her as this diagnosis made her life much more difficult. After entering college, Christina found people facing a similar lifestyle. After showing great promise, CDN became a nonprofit organization that helps bridge the gap of adulthood for those facing Diabetes.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not create enough sugar in your bloodstream naturally. Without insulin, blood sugar is not able to enter the bloodstream, thus causing complications. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease that can happen to you at any stage of your life.
In comparison, the CDC says that Type 2 diabetes is much more common in America as it affects 1 in every 10 Americans. The insulin that your body creates is no longer able to regulate your body. Your blood sugar levels can reach dangerously elevated levels causing issues such as kidney disease, heart disease, and vision loss. Luckily, it can be treated by improving your health and lifestyle choices.
This event comes on the heels of an article published in the local Green Bay Fox 11 news station. “New data shows a sharp increase in Type 2 diabetes among children in Wisconsin, and doctors think COVID-19 could be a factor.” Dr. Elizabeth Mann is a pediatric endocrinologist and director of the Type 2 Diabetes Program at UW Health Kids. Mann says, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve just seen a sharp increase beyond what we had expected.”
Anthony Jenske is a 57-year-old type two diabetic. He has been living with type two diabetes for 8 years now. “Diabetes affects how the body produces and regulates sugar. Insulin is produced by my pancreas, and insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels. Sometimes my pancreas has trouble producing insulin which affects how cells respond to blood sugar levels. If my blood sugar gets too high, I may get thirsty and jittery, like I had a pot of coffee. Doctors tell me if I sustain high blood sugar levels for too long, it could lead to a diabetic coma, but I haven’t had many run-ins with that. Usually, my blood sugar is low, which makes me lightheaded, nauseous, and weak. I can fix it quickly with a cup of soda or a cookie from the bakery.”
Anthony says, “I got diagnosed just before I turned 50. When I was a kid, I looked like you. I worked out and ate ok enough, but time took its toll, and I got lazy with my old age. Doctors have been telling me my health issues may subside if I try to diet and exercise. At that point in my life, though, I was not ready to make that kind of lifestyle change. If I had any advice for the younger generations, I would tell them it’s never too late to take care of yourself for yourself.”