Blue for World Diabetes Day

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian Mayor Rosas addresses the crowd in front of City Hall regarding World Diabetes Day. With him stand members of the community who live with type one diabetes.

Dunkirk City Mayor Willie Rosas commemorated World Diabetes Day by “turning City Hall blue” Tuesday. The large globe lights in front of city hall will radiate blue in honor of the 1.25 million Americans and their families and caregivers affected by Type 1 diabetes.

It is estimated that 415 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, which is estimated to be one in 11 of the world’s adult population. Forty-six percent of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.

“There are municipalities across the world that are involved in doing what we’re doing today,” Rosas announced in front of city hall, as he stood next to a group of young people and adults from Chautauqua County who live with Type 1 diabetes.

“Our job is to find a cure,” said Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) executive director Karen Swierski. “JDRF is here to let you know that we’re working hard to find a cure. We have people around me today that were diagnosed five years ago…and people who were diagnosed 62 years ago. Everybody is still here. We’re healthy, we’re doing well. JDRF wants to make sure we stay this way until we find a cure.”

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic, life-threatening autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults at any age. Its onset is sudden and is not related to diet or lifestyle.

T1D requires rigorous monitoring of blood glucose levels — even overnight — to avoid potentially lethal highs and lows in blood sugar, as well as other devastating complications like kidney, eye and nerve diseases.

The number of people with T1D is expected to grow to 5 million nationwide by 2050. JDRF is calling for everyone to participate in this campaign by going to the T1D Looks Like Me page during the month of November to create a custom profile photo to use on their Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts.

The day is also meant to honor doctor Frederick Banting, who, along with colleague John James Rickard Macleod, discovered insulin in 1923. Both doctors received the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery and Banting remains the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of physiology and medicine. He was 32.

“Thank God he did because none of us with type one diabetes would be here if we didn’t have insulin,” Swierski said.

Those with T1D in attendance who came to help commemorate the event included Ben Cornell, student at Washington Middle School in Jamestown; Kaleigh Kujawa, senior at Dunkirk High School; Jaden Ortiz, senior at DHS; McKay Young, eighth grade student at Southwestern Central School in Lakewood; Joel Biscaro, Dunkirk resident and owner of North County Landscaping; Tom Muldowney, Fredonia resident, pharmaceutical representative; Joan Latimer, Fredonia resident who was diagnosed with T1D 62 years ago; Anthony Miller, Fredonia resident; and Cameron Paternosh of Westfield.

For more information about type one diabetes, visit, or follow on Twitter: @JDRF.