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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Jennifer Smallin
Minot, SD


In 1975, at age 19, I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. With no family history or knowledge of the condition, I became angry at the lack of information available to me. Statistics at the time indicated that the average insulin-dependent diabetic dies after 25 years of diabetes. I resigned myself to a death by age 44. I observed many of my then-diabetic friends pass away -- one by one.

I saw my best friend's mom lose both her legs to diabetes through amputation. I myself went into kidney failure. The "system" worked for me, however, when I went into kidney failure. Social Security paid for first, dialysis then my kidney transplant. My husband's HMO thankfully paid additionally for a pancreas to accompany the kidney transplant. Now, eight years post-transplant I am here today at age 45 to write to you!! I still must be on significantly high-priced prescription drugs daily.

I am one of few lucky ones who have survived. I encourage you to also speak with Deb Butterfield, also a kidney/pancreas transplant survivor and the executive director of the Insulin-Free World Foundation. 1-888-746-4439. You may view the website at www.insulin-free.org. Her work has been significant and dramatic in helping me and many other pancreas transplant recipients in the last ten years. Her input into your "Who Cares?" efforts I feel would be extremely valuable. "Jennuinely" Jen Smallin Warrior24K@aol.com

YOUR STORIES
Zoe Albright, Stroke
Betty Bennett, Kidney Disease
Roxanne Bedford-Curbow, Seizures
Valerie Brekke, Fibromyalgia
Lily Casura, Chronic Fatigue
Billie Davis, Peripheral Neuropathy
Penny Day, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Julia DeJesus, Seizure Disorder
MS Patient, Fairfax, VA
Charisse Farmer, Hydrocephalus
Katherine Fielder, Chronic Pain
Zoe Francis, Juvenile Diabetes
James Hines, Hemochromatosis
William Holford, Emphysema
Nancy K, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Patricia Lawson, Natural Rubber Latex Allergy
James Locke, Crohn's Disease
Gary Maslow, various
Kathy Matthews, Parkinson's
Andrea Meyer, MS
Gina Owens, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
Alicia Salas, Chronic Pain
Allison Scott, Chronic Pain
Deborah Serrano, Stroke
Becky Shively, Phenylketonuria
Jennifer Smallin, Type I Diabetes
Joanna Southerland, Diabetes
Alina Valdes, Cystic Fibrosis
Elizabeth Wertz, Seizures

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Jose Pedro Greer, Physician
W.F. Nagle, Physician
Ronda Riebman, Exercise
Cathleen Schilling, Case Manager
Jim Sykes

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