The Gamma Chi chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi at the University of South Carolina has continued to focus our community service efforts on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research.  The reason our chapter is extremely passionate about supporting JDRF is to advocate for Brandon Picow, our former President and now alumni, his father Ian Picow, an honorary brother, and the other three million Americans living with type 1 diabetes.  Brandon was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) at age eleven.  His father was also diagnosed at age eleven only a week apart from him.

Over the years, we have come to a better understanding of the true impact this disease has not only on those who have type 1 diabetes, but on those who are close to them.  Contrary to popular belief, T1D has nothing to do with diet and lifestyle, and there's nothing anyone can do to prevent it, or get rid of it.  Some people just get T1D, and research still hasn’t provided a completely solid conclusion for why that is.  Put simply, T1D is when your body stops producing insulin (the hormone that gives people energy from food).  Currently, the best treatment is for people with T1D to give themselves insulin shots multiple times throughout the day and to constantly check their blood sugar to ensure it stays in balance.

T1D starts to become this routine.  Those with the disease, their families, and significant others get so used to dealing with it that it can just become a normal part of their daily lives. 

The perception that T1D “is pretty manageable” is just not always true.  Brandon has been able to handle the disease as well as he has because of his family who educated him about T1D and still to this day is constantly looking out for him.  Brandon is very vocal about how thankful he is for a family who has not only been able to educate him about T1D, but who has also been able to afford the huge medical bills that accompany the disease.  Not every child, teen, or adult diagnosed with T1D has all the resources that Brandon has been blessed with.  Not having that kind of support can come at a very high cost; including kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, amputation, pregnancy complications, and death.  The money raised by JDRF not only goes towards finding a cure to this disease, but it also supports programs like T1D Connections, where a type 1 diabetics volunteer to reach out to people who have just been diagnosed with the disease.  That way, they can be comforted by the support they might not have in their lives already by someone who knows what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Our chapter continues to strive to work with the local Jewish community and JDRF to fulfill our philanthropic goals.  Due to some great work through our former chapter advisor and Chief Meteorologist at NBC in Nashville, Henry Rothenberg, and the helpful people at the Palmetto Chapter, we have raised over $50,000 since 2014 for this worthy cause. Through our Burgers and Ball Fundraiser as well as our participation in the JDRF One Walk, and hard work of all members, we were able to raise around $5,000 in 2019 for JDRF.

In the Spring of 2019, our chapter had our Donuts and Dodgeball Philanthropy Event as well as multiple percent nights which raised roughly $2,500 for JDRF.

Some of the participants of Gamma Chi's Donuts and Dodgeball Philanthropy Event in Spring 2019.

In the fall, brothers of Gamma Chi again participated in the JDRF One Walk at Segra Park. The newer members were thrilled to continue the tradition of raising money and walking for the JDRF organization.

 Gamma Chi brothers at the Fall 2019 JDRF One Walk.

If you would like to make a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, follow the link: