Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund Supports MedicAlert ID Initiative

November’s Diabetes Awareness Month activities include fundraisers and new program

When Miranda Leavitt lost her battle with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 22, she left a legacy of education and support for people with diabetes in her community. This November, in recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund, part of the Memorial Hospital Foundation, is announcing a new program for the patients of its Miranda Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology. It is also organizing several activities and events to build awareness on preventing and treating diabetes and raising funds to help diabetics in our community.

Starting this winter, the Diabetes Center is partnering with the national non-profit organization MedicAlert to make their identification bracelet and response service available to all of their patients with diabetes. The service will soon be available at no cost, funded in part by the Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund and by MedicAlert.

Shauna Cameron, MS RN, director of Primary Care and the Diabetes Center, is excited by the MedicAlert opportunity. “The clinical staff discussed a variety of ways that we could support our patients and improve patient care. Making sure that people with diabetes are appropriately identified in an emergency is a major safety concern, but not everyone can afford the cost of this service.”

Cameron explained that the partnership with MedicAlert will include the bracelet and the company’s 24/7 telephone support service. The cost of annual membership fees for patients in the program is being funded by the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund.

Justin Noland, senior director at MedicAlert based in California, explained that the company is launching the dollar-for-dollar match program as a pilot project at several medical centers around the country. “As a company, we’re celebrating our 60th anniversary and we’re working on several charitable initiatives. This is a great partnership because anyone who has diabetes should be wearing identification. In an emergency, first responders need that information for critical treatment decisions,” he said.

Noland pointed out that the MedicAlert service is more than wearing a bracelet. “A first responder or emergency department physician can call us at the phone number on the bracelet 24/7. With the member ID, our service can provide a wide range of medical information, including medications the person is taking and allergies,” he said. “Our service is backed by well trained Registered Nurses. We can call the person’s emergency family contact, their primary care provider, or fax their medical records to the emergency department.”

The Miranda Center for Diabetes at Memorial Hospital is the only New Hampshire facility selected by MedicAlert to take part in the program. Patients will be enrolled through the Center and provided with all of the necessary information to participate.

The numbers associated with diabetes make a strong case for devoting community resources to education, awareness and specialty care. The American Diabetes Association estimates that almost 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes; 86 million Americans have prediabetes; and 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Nearly 26% of those age 65 and older have diabetes and it remains the 7th leading cause of death in our country.

To learn more about the services available at the Miranda Center for Diabetes, call (603) 356-4949, Ext. 3353. The center offers appointments in North Conway and at its Berlin satellite at Androscoggin Valley Hospital. Physician oversight is provided by a board certified endocrinologist from Maine Medical Partners working with a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to the evaluation, treatment and education of people with diabetes.

SIDEBAR:

The Shannon Door Pub and Blue Fridays support the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund
Miranda Leavitt was a true advocate for greater awareness and understanding of the disease that took her life at a young age. During November, many initiatives take place in support of World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month. The “Blue Fridays” project began five years ago as a way to bring people together and raise awareness about this growing global epidemic.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, the Shannon Door Pub in Jackson, NH is hosting a fundraiser for the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund. Between the hours of 4-11pm, they will donate $1 for each pizza sold to the fund which is part of the Memorial Hospital Foundation. The public is invited for live music, raffles and pizza for a good cause.

“Blue Fridays” in November is an opportunity for area businesses to take part in raising awareness and raising money for the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund.  Businesses who agree to participate will be given special donation boxes, Blue November stickers and information on diabetes prevention and management. These businesses would share the diabetes educational materials with staff, then encourage their employees to make a voluntary donation every Friday in November in exchange for wearing blue jeans or blue attire to work for the day. Employees of Memorial Hospital and its practices will be participating. Businesses interested in participating should contact Kathy Bennett, VP of Community Relations, at (603) 356-5461, Ext. 2198.

Established in 2008 by Brenda and Richard Leavitt of Fryeburg Maine, the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund provides education, awareness and resources for people with diabetes in the community. Donations can be made by contacting the Memorial Hospital Foundation office, (603) 356-5461, ext. 2264 or donating online through the hospital’s website, http://www.MemorialHospitalNH.org.

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