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Local duo helps diabetes get its day.

Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard

Anyone who doubts that one or two highly motivated people can make a difference in the world never met Kari and Clare Rosenfeld.

It was 2001 when the mother-daughter duo were sitting at their kitchen table in Eugene, talking about diabetes and how to help young people with the disease "do something positive about their negative situation," mom Kari Rosenfeld said.

Five years later, that kitchen-table talk has turned into action, as the United Nations General Assembly this week adopted a resolution establishing World Diabetes Day, marking the first time the world body has recognized a noninfectious disease as posing a threat to global health.

"This resolution is of immense significance because for the first time governments in the world have recognized the enormity e·nor·mi·ty  
n. pl. e·nor·mi·ties
1. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.

2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.

 of the diabetes epidemic," said Dr. Martin Silink, president of the International Diabetes Federation The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is a worldwide alliance of 200 diabetes associations in more than 150 countries, who have come together to enhance the lives of people with diabetes everywhere. For over 50 years, IDF has been at the vanguard of global diabetes advocacy. , the Brussels-based umbrella group for national diabetes associations.

An estimated 246 million people worldwide have diabetes, about 6 percent of the world's adult population, of whom 80 percent live in developing countries.

The disease kills about 3.8 million adults each year, about the same as HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome .

Kari Rosenfeld calls the diabetes epidemic "the tidal wave tidal wave, term properly applied to the crest of a tide as it moves around the earth. The wavelike upstream rush of water caused by the incoming tide in some locations is known as a tidal bore.  that's about to hit the world."

"It's going to cripple healthcare systems around the world if we don't do something about it now," she said.

Diabetes occurs when the body has problems producing insulin, a hormone that helps sugar leave the blood and enter cells to be used as fuel.

Type 1, or insulin-dependent, diabetes occurs when the body produces no, or not enough, insulin; type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes occurs when the body is unable to use the insulin it produces effectively.

Its complications can be deadly and include heart disease, stroke, amputation amputation (ăm'pyətā`shən), removal of all or part of a limb or other body part. Although amputation has been practiced for centuries, the development of sophisticated techniques for treatment and prevention of infection has greatly , blindness and kidney failure kidney failure
 or renal failure

Partial or complete loss of kidney function. Acute failure causes reduced urine output and blood chemical imbalance, including uremia. Most patients recover within six weeks.
. Prevention and early treatment of diabetes is inexpensive and can save untold millions, advocates say.

Clare Rosenfeld, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes type 1 diabetes
See diabetes mellitus.
 at age 7, has been a tireless diabetes advocate nearly from that day.

In 2000, she served as the first-ever National Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association The American Diabetes Association, or the ADA, is an American health organization providing diabetes research, information and advocacy. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association conducts programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, reaching hundreds of .

In 2002, the U.N. Youth Unit recognized the work of the International Diabetes Youth Ambassadors, an online group founded by Rosenfeld. In 2003, she was named one of Oregon's top two youth volunteers.

Now 20, the South Eugene High School South Eugene High School is a public high school located in Eugene, Oregon, United States. It was founded as Eugene High School around 1900, and was located at Willamette Street and West 11th Avenue in a brick building that later served as Eugene's city hall.  graduate is a junior at Lewis & Clark College Clark College: see Atlanta Univ. Center.  in Portland.

She was 16 when she asked her mother in that kitchen table conversation, "What about the United Nations?

Kari Rosenfeld called the U.N. Youth Unit to find out what it would take to give young people the chance to speak at the United Nations.

You need to get a U.N. diabetes day, she was told, and to get a day, you need to get a resolution. To get a resolution passed, you need to find a member country to sponsor the idea.

In 2003, the Rosenfelds attended the International Diabetes Federation World Congress in Paris, where Clare spoke on the importance of involving youth and listening to youth in diabetes prevention.

Afterward, she met Silnik, then the federation's president-elect, and asked him if his group, which already had its own diabetes day, had thought about lobbying for a U.N. resolution.

"It took him completely off guard," Kari Rosenfeld said.

The Rosenfelds met with Silink the next day and explained their idea for a World Diabetes Day, so young people could speak to the world body and raise awareness about the disease.

In summer 2005, Silink asked Kari Rosenfeld to be the project manager for the U.N. resolution. In February, the IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame) A wiring rack located between the MDF (main distribution frame) and the intended end user devices (telephones, routers, PCs, etc.). Cables run from the outside world to the MDF and then to the IDFs. See MDF and wiring rack.  board approved the United for Diabetes Campaign. The People's Republic People's Republic
A political organization founded and controlled by a national Communist party.
 of Bangladesh offered to sponsor the resolution.

On Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the resolution by consensus, designating Nov. 14 as World Diabetes Day, starting next year. It calls on member states to observe the day and asks all nations to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes.

The resolution is significant, Kari Rosenfeld said, because it raises awareness about the disease so that governments will recognize it as a health care priority.

"A resolution is only a piece of paper. It doesn't mandate anything or provide a law," she added.

"But a U.N. resolution states the moral will of the people. What the U.N. has said is: Diabetes is important and the world needs to listen - and the world needs to act."
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Title Annotation:Health; The mother-daughter team spearheaded U.N. recognition of the disease
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 23, 2006
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