Fighting Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in the Name of Family
Published March 2008
More than 15 years ago, Cedar Rapids, Iowa-native Kathy Eno was shocked to find out that her seemingly healthy husband, Rex, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Kathy supported her husband and two children during this change in their family, encouraging Rex to monitor his nutrition and exercise levels, while adjusting his workload and stress.
A year later, in 1991, Kathy’s family received another setback; their 11-year-old son, Ben, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. No longer able to control his diabetes using exercise and diet, Rex began daily insulin injections along with Ben. “For individuals with diabetes and their families, there is no vacation,” stated Kathy. “You cannot be a part-time diabetic. Diabetes is with you every hour of every day. It’s not like you can just take a pill in the morning and everything will be fine.”
It is that every-day battle that inspired Kathy to dedicate herself to the American Diabetes Association’s mission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Thanks to Kathy’s extensive and impressive history of philanthropy and volunteering, it was only a matter of time that she made significant and positive strides for the American Diabetes Association and its Research Foundation.
Kathy impressively dedicated herself to support the organization in honor of her family by organizing and chairing fundraisers, events and dinners.
“Just wanting a cure for diabetes is not enough. You have to give of your time, talent and treasures if you want to make a difference,” said Kathy. “The American Diabetes Association is an equal-opportunity non-profit, providing many opportunities to participate in the fight against diabetes. Not only does the organization need financial resources, but, most importantly, we need people’s passion to volunteer and make a difference.”
Indeed, Kathy has been a model for passion in the fight against diabetes. In addition to being a member of the National Board of Directors, she was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Research Foundation. “We have visited the Association-funded research programs at the University of Iowa, and they are doing ground breaking research,” stated Kathy. “The Association identifies and screens numerous research grant proposals. When we give our dollars to the organization, we know the money is targeted to projects that will make the most impact.”
Kathy and her husband, Rex, are some of the strongest diabetes advocates that the organization has. “We chose to support the American Diabetes Association, because unlike other organizations dealing with diabetes, the Association impacts both type 1 and type 2 diabetes through education, prevention, research and advocacy. We’re optimistic that the Association’s partnership with the hundreds of thousands of volunteers will continue to win battles every day and will ultimately win the diabetes war.”
We have not won yet, but Kathy’s greatest inspiration continues to be her family, with the threat of diabetes continuously on their minds. “Because of our family history, our newly married daughter is aware that if she becomes pregnant, she is at a much higher risk to develop gestational diabetes. Anxiety over that possibility is always in the back of our minds.
"So for our family, becoming members of the Pinnacle Society and Summit Circle was a given. Our family commitment is working to find a cure and impact the lives of people with diabetes. If a cure does not occur during our lifetime, then maybe it will be achieved in our children or grandchildren’s lifetimes.”