Life for a Child Provides Families in Mexico Vital Resources for Diabetes Management
Editor’s Notes: Life for a Child supports young people living with diabetes in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. In addition to the story shared below, read more about their work supporting young people like Rwandan sisters Ineza and Rebeka at ToClimbAThousandHills.org.
Until 2022, there have been wide gaps in the data about the incidence and impact of type 1 diabetes across the world. According to estimates from the type 1 diabetes (T1D) Index by JDRF, almost 90,000 people live with type 1 diabetes in Mexico, but almost 60,000 additional people would still be alive today if everyone had access to a timely diagnosis, vital diabetes supplies and management education. An average young person diagnosed at age 10 will lose an estimated 35 years of healthy life. Globally, there are an estimated total of 3.86 million people that would be alive today if everyone had equitable access to diabetes healthcare and tools. Learn more at T1DIndex.org.
Life for a Child is a program that supports children and young people in under-resourced countries with insulin and other life-saving diabetes supplies and support. Today, Life for a Child helps more than 34,000 young people living with type 1 diabetes in 45 countries and its work is recognized worldwide.
In Mexico, Life for a Child is active in Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Guanajuato, CDMX, Nayarit and Yucatán. 822 children and young people under age 25 benefit from the programs in these regions.
We spoke to María Elena Mota, the Mexican Diabetes Association director in Jalisco, about the program and its importance. Mota is also in charge of leading local organizations’ work as part of Life for a Child’s Mexican programs.
BT1: Hi, María. Before we dive in, can you tell our readers about yourself and your relationship with type 1 diabetes?
María Elena: I am the mother of a young woman with type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed in 1995. After going through the tremendous grief that my daughter’s diabetes represented, I understood the reasons God had. He had this beautiful mission for me and my daughter was my motor.
We already know about the great work you do with the association and leading the local efforts in Jalisco for Life for a Child. Can you tell us about this program? How did Life for a Child come to your association?
In 2011, when I was the CEO of the Mexican Diabetes Federation, A.C. (FMD), I received an email from María de Alva, who had also been the organization’s previous CEO. She was the president of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) when she called. She wanted to know if we were interested in an alliance with Life for a Child to benefit children with diabetes in Mexico. Of course, we wanted to collaborate! This was my dream come true. Two years later, this dream came true.
What is the collaboration all about?
Life for a Child helps the association in many ways—one way is by providing a glucose meter and four test strips per day per child. This is a team effort between Life for a Child and our local organizations. Our organizations also provide other resources like syringes, lancets, diabetes education and patient services, including nutrition consultations, psychology, medical, podiatric and dental services. In some of our associations, we run lipid profile and A1c tests. Some of them also have “insulin banks” for emergencies.
Diabetes education is the foundation of this program because it goes hand in hand with resources. Without proper diabetes education, all the supplies would not be as helpful. The truth is, this is not an easy task. Not all our organizations have the same capabilities and services. We still give 100 percent so that the children have as much as possible.
What would you like our readers to know about this program and the associations’ work?
I would like people to know there are programs in Mexico to help people who live with type 1 diabetes. In our country, families pay for all of their diabetes supplies and care. This can be a catastrophic expense for them. We do the best that we can to help. Life for a Child is helping us help these families.
Where can we find more information, and how can the community help the organizations and programs?
Visit the Life for a Child website to learn more about the program and how you can help.
Life for a Child believes that no child should die of diabetes. Find out how you can help support young people living with diabetes in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities on their website.