Orange County foundation helps SoCal families, children navigate life with diabetes

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Living with Type 1 diabetes can be challenging for anyone, and much more so for children. One local organization is offering help for kids, both physically and mentally, as they navigate life with diabetes.

Kids with diabetes face a serious health condition which forces them to take insulin injections or be on an insulin pump for life.

The Padre Foundation based in Orange County is providing support for more than 1,400 Southern California families who have children with Type 1 diabetes.

"We constantly are calling it the invisible illness because if you don't see that I've got this insulin pump connected to me 24 hours a day, you wouldn't know I live with Type 1 diabetes same with our kiddos," said Mike Avery with the PADRE Foundation.

Avery says it's one thing to live with Type 1 diabetes as an adult and quite another coping with it as a child. That's why he says he's part of the foundation, which also provides support during a diabetic crisis.

"Living with Type 1 diabetes myself makes it a really cool moment to walk in the door. I'm not a doctor. I get to put out my hand and say, 'hey I'm just like you.' We want to make sure you are going to be supported and anything you need. We are going to be there," he said.

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With Type 1 diabetes, the body no longer produces the important hormone insulin which is needed to survive. Avery says it's tough and depressing at times for kids having to take daily injections or live with an insulin pump attached to their bodies.

"When these kids don't take care of themselves, when they fall down in these dark holes, they can and do sometimes lose their lives," he said.

Avery says the foundation plays a major role letting kids know they can function and thrive despite their chronic illness. However, the pandemic is crippling its ability to fundraise. Avery says this is heartbreaking, knowing that means they can't help as many families even with just basic supplies.

"We will give them any medical supplies that are none prescription if they need them," he said.

For nearly 40 years, the foundation has provided families with insulin pumps, glucose monitors and more.

Avery says families usually call the foundation for support maybe just to bend an ear or even finding out where they can get additional resources.

"We pride ourselves on the fact they we don't have to give them a 1-800 number. We can connect them directly to other community members who can give them exactly what they need," he said.

If you'd like to help the foundation please go to padrefoundation.org/donate.

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