November is a time to raise awareness of many health-related causes. Type 1 diabetes isn’t always in the spotlight this month, but it’s a cause close to Conacher’s heart.

Syracuse Crunch forward Cory Conacher isn’t shy about helping people, especially children, who are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes to adjust and learn about the disease. This Friday, Conacher will partner with Hockey Fights T1D and the Syracuse Crunch to increase fans’ knowledge and understanding during Diabetes Awareness Night.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) defines the disease as:

[A]n autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. And, at present, there is no cure.

In T1D, your pancreas stops producing insulin—a hormone the body needs to get energy from food. This means a process your body does naturally and automatically becomes something that now requires your daily attention and manual intervention.

The exact causes of Type 1 Diabetes are not yet known. Although there are some factors and potential triggers to consider, one of the main things people jump to when they hear “diabetes” – diet and/or lifestyle – does not have anything to do with Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes is not just a childhood disease. According to the JDRF, nearly 85% of people living with the disease are over age 18. Conacher is one of those people within that 85%.

An article in the New York Times from March 2013 explained a little about Conacher’s journey with Type 1 Diabetes:

At 8, he was found to have diabetes. At 12, he got an insulin pump, which he wears like a beeper. It attaches to a permanent port in his abdomen. He takes the pump off during games.

“It really hasn’t gotten in the way,” Conacher said. “As long as you control it, it’s not a big deal.”

Diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes can be tricky. The JDRF explains that a diagnosis can happen “suddenly and unexpectedly,” with “symptoms that can appear as a cold or flu.” Such was the case when Logan (the child who is the inspiration for the Hockey Fights T1D organization, and who is in the video with Conacher) was diagnosed. It took almost three days and a combination of symptoms before doctors realized that Logan had Type 1 Diabetes.

The Hockey Fights T1D organization is local to the CNY area. It partners with JDRF. Its mission is to raise “awareness of Type 1 Diabetes via our fundraising and awareness events.” They are also a “100% volunteer organization that is powered by the generosity of others to keep us going.”

The organization will have a table in the concourse Friday at the War Memorial. The table will offer information about both the Hockey Fights T1D organization and JDRF.

Fans can also enter to win a puck signed by Conacher.


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com