When Chandra Kim’s daughter Taylor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2008 at the age of 7, it sparked a desire to support organizations that are working toward a cure for the disease.
“This is so personal to me,” Kim explains. “It’s my daughter’s life, and I want to offer any type of help, whether it’s through the federal government or me talking to people about T1D, raising awareness about T1D.”
She supports Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and each year since Taylor’s diagnosis, Kim has raised funds locally through the JDRF Hawaii chapter’s Walk for a Cure.
“I want a cure,” she explains. “I want a cure for diabetes, so I’m going to try to get the most dollars, whether that means I locally raise funds or support other JDRF functions.”
The other aspect of Kim’s support is in the form of government advocacy.
“We ask our senators and our representatives to support any funding for T1D research,” she says. “I go to Washington, D.C., every year in March (to speak with the Hawaii delegation about T1D and the importance of research).”
Kim also notes that although JDRF focuses primarily on T1D research, it also will help in finding relief for those suffering with type 2 diabetes.
After their recent trip, Kim and Taylor are happy to report that the entire Hawaii delegation signed a letter in support of the Special Diabetes Program, which helps with “better treatments and life-changing technologies, like the artificial pancreas,” according to Kim.
And she is happy to say that Taylor, now 13, doesn’t let her disease hold her back. She recently received her taekwondo black belt and currently is in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the Olympic Training Center, which is a stepping stone to eventually competing in the Olympics.
“I want her to experience everything possible,” Kim says. “I don’t want her to ever feel like the disease will cripple her in the sense that she can’t do anything.”
Taylor has to be on top of her condition every day, and Kim applauds her for her diligence.
“It’s because you’re diligent that you can be healthy, but diligence to do that daily is hard,” she says. “Adults know how hard it is to constantly do something, but she’s done this since she was 7. She’ll live with this for the rest of her life.”
While this is the case right now, Kim is hoping that one day a cure will be found, but in the meantime she will continue to do all she can to support the research.