BAG OF HOPE for Young Diabetes Patients

February 12, 2009 12:04:57 PM PST
Learning that your child has Type 1 Diabetes can be frightening and confusing. It is difficult to explain the illness to a young child, teaching about injections, blood testing and diet restrictions. So the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Illinois has developed a tool to help educate children and their families. It is called the Bag of Hope and it is filled with helpful materials geared towards children and adult caregivers. The backpacks are available for free to children who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the past 3 months. The backpack includes:

- Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes, a stuffed toy
- "Rufus Comes Home" book
- "A First Book for Understanding Diabetes," a booklet about healthy habits and carbohydrate counting
- a DVD "You Can't Catch Diabetes from a Friend"
- a keychain digital watch and compass
- Accu-Chek® Aviva Compact Blood Meter.

Rufus the Bear was created in 1996 by Carol Cramer, two years after her son Brian was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. Rufus has patches on his arms, legs, tummy and bottom to help children learn about insulin injection sites and injection site rotation. Children can even give Rufus a pretend injection. Rufus also has red patches on both sides of his paws so that a child can pretend to test his blood sugar. And, of course, Rufus always wears a Medic Alert bracelet.

"Rufus Comes Home" is the story of a young boy named Brian who has type 1 diabetes, inspired by the creation of Rufus the Bear. In the story Brian's mother creates Rufus for him, and, through Rufus, Brian learns to come to terms with his diabetes.

"A First Book for Understanding Diabetes" was written by H. Peter Chace, MD, the past executive and clinical director of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Chase is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from JDRF.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Illinois (JDRF Illinois) is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. The organization also provides support and education for families and type 1 diabetics. JDRF Illinois is the highest grossing chapter in the country. Through such events as The Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes and the Chance of Lifetime Gala, JDRF Illinois provides $14 million annually to fund research dedicated to finding a cure to type 1 diabetes and its complications.

For more information or to request a Bag of Hope, call 312-670-0313 or visit