Last New Years Eve I received a phone call that left me speechless.
My family and I had lost my Grandfather’s wife to diabetes. Exactly one year after losing my Grandfather, we had now lost his shining star; a warm, caring, compassionate, and selfless woman, who always put everyone else’s needs above her own.
I felt a deep void inside, and knew I had to shed light on this crippling disease.
Diabetes is affecting over 350 million people worldwide, and that number continues to increase. There is no question that we are in the midst of a diabetes epidemic; and in my neighboring community of Boyle Heights, the diabetics are 10x more likely to have a limb amputated than anywhere else in Los Angeles. A truly daunting statistic.
The beacon of hope for this high risk populations lies in the wonderful service of, The Center for Limb Preservation & Advanced Wound Care at Adventist Health White Memorial.
On October 5th, I visited the Center and had time to tour the facilities, and speak with the leading physicians; who are dedicated and determined to do everything possible to improve the quality of life of the residents that are suffering from diabetes. Unlike most hospitals that simply treat symptoms, I found great comfort in the fact that their focus was on providing the patients with education and treatments that focus on reversing the growing number of diabetic patients facing amputation.
The Center offers the newest, most comprehensive services of its kind in the Western United States. By utilizing advanced treatments and prevention modalities, the Center does an incredible job at preventing future wounds and limb loss. Apart from amputation, diabetes can lead to other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure; making it imperative that we focus on prevention and timely care.
As leading physician Dr. Stanley Mathis poignantly stated, “time is tissue”. The rapid response team here is truly life-saving for those at risk for limb loss, where time can make all the difference in saving a limb, or a life. This Center makes it possible to save a person’s limb by bringing all the specialists to the patient without having them travel or wait for the care they need, no matter what the service.
These amputations have a profound effect on people lives, and the lives of their family and friends.
I applaud the entire staff of physicians, nurses, technicians, and educators who work tirelessly to improve the lives of so many. Diabetes is a tremendous public health problem that needs critical attention. Too many people are suffering from a preventable disease. We must continue to spread awareness, and empower patients with the education and tools necessary to help avert this crippling disease.
TOGETHER we can affect real sustainable change.
It has been an honor to collaborate with Adventist Health White Memorial on a cause so near to my heart.