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We Are the Faces of Diabetes‌

We Are the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi

The faces of diabetes pictured on the front cover are the following: Pictured top left: Brian Johnson - Diabetes for 15 yrs Mary Fortune - Diabetes for 43 yrs Con Maloney - Diabetes for 7 yrs Sadie Gibson - Diabetes for 2 yrs Center picture: Mark Wolken & his son (Ayden) Mark Wolken - Diabetes for 19 yrs Ayden Wolken - Diabetes for 2 yrs Pictured top right: Gracie Biedenharn - Diabetes for 2 yrs Gavin Thompson - Diabetes for 2 yrs Avery Page - Diabetes for 2 yrs Charlie Mozingo - Diabetes for 24 yrs

Who We Are The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi (DFM) is the state’s premier nonprofit health organization providing education, research, information, children’s programs, patient services and advocacy. Our mission is simple: we save lives everyday! Our lifesaving screenings are targeted to find the undiagnosed and conducted primarily in the high risk minority populations; we keep our children with diabetes safe at school by providing the critical knowledge and skills needed for teachers to assess and treat diabetic emergencies in the classroom; we treat those in need with care and respect and assist them with the vitally important medicine they need to survive. These are only a few of the ways we save lives each day! The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi is a 501 (c) 3, nonprofit organization devoted entirely to all Mississippians with diabetes and the families that support them. Every dollar raised stays in the Magnolia state caring for those with diabetes. We are a group of passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers (comprised of medical and business professionals). For its sound fiscal management, the DFM was recognized by Charity Navigator with its prestigious four-star rating–the highest rating awarded to nonprofit organizations, a title achieved by only 25 percent of all charities.

“The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi is doing a tremendous job of reaching people with diabetes across the state. The programs work and are popular with both those who have diabetes and their families. The Foundation faces tremendous obstacles but still manages to get to the people that need them the most. Research adds years to your life, but the Foundation’s work adds life to your years.” –Dr. Warren Jones, Executive Director Delta Regional Institute

Children’s Programs Camp Kandu Children’s camps are all about having fun, learning new skills, and making new friends. Camp Kandu, one of the Diabetes Foundation’s premier services for children and families, is unlike any other children’s camp in that it gives children with diabetes the opportunity to make friends with other children in their same situation, while teaching them how to live healthy lives, grow in confidence, and realize that their potential is limitless. Started in 2002, Camp Kandu is a bi-annual weekend-long event for children living with diabetes and their parents. The name is derived from “can-do,” meaning that children with diabetes can live their lives to the fullest, while remaining active and healthy.

Sadie, Kennedy and Kelli at camp

Camp Kandu is held at the beautiful Twin Lakes Conference Center in Florence, MS, just south of Jackson. The state-of-the-art facilities are located on nearly 500 wooded acres and provide the perfect backdrop for a weekend of fun, friendships, and family.

During camp, participants – parents and children alike – learn about diabetes management, including the importance of healthy meal planning, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood glucose levels. Participants engage in exciting activities such as tie-dying T-shirts, karate lessons, painting, crafts, hula hooping, and relay racing. Separate activities are planned for parents and caregivers, including the opportunity for one-on-one networking with other parents of kids with diabetes.

“When Ayden was diagnosed with diabetes, the Diabetes Foundation came to visit us in the hospital. It was then that we learned about Camp Kandu, and literally less than a week after leaving the hospital, we met Ayden’s new pediatric endocrinologist at Camp Kandu. It opened so many doors.”

–Candice Wolken, Parent

We Care 2 “We Care 2,” a signature program of the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, sends a DFM representative or volunteer into the hospital setting to visit a newly diagnosed child and his/her family. The program’s goal is to connect families with an ongoing support system and resource network for managing the health of their child. Trained staff and volunteers visit the family in the hospital and provide both comfort and information to guide them through the months of transition into a life of healthy diabetes management.

Emily Grace hugs “Sugar,” her stuffed puppy given to her while in the hospital.

“As a parent of a small child, I am concerned about the health and safety of my daughter and doing whatever necessary to ensure the best life possible for her. The programs provided by DFM fill a great need in making sure we have the support and tools necessary to deal with diabetes. I like to think that my daughter has diabetes...diabetes doesn’t have her.”

–Beth Biedenharn, Parent

Sweet Subject School Diabetes Education “It’s Not a Sweet Subject” is a signature program of the DFM offering Mississippi schools and daycare facilities the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) by attending a DFM school presentation. The program is free for schools and daycare centers around the state. The goal of “It’s Not a Sweet Subject” is to educate teachers and school staff on how to recognize and handle emergencies in the school setting and care for children with diabetes. The DFM provides the schools with an emergency box containing blood-glucose testing supplies with information and items for treating hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia for their students. “My daughter’s school does not have a nurse, and if it wasn’t for the Sweet Subject program, Lillie Grace would have a much harder time. Now, her teachers and those around her are more aware of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and I can feel safe and assured knowing that she’s in good hands.”

–Sherry Holland, Parent

Community Research The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi believes great medical breakthroughs can happen right here at home. That’s why the DFM funds medical research and grants at The University of Mississippi Medical Center. We remain committed to making a cure for diabetes a reality.

Parent-to-Parent Networking The DFM provides a support group for parents and children with diabetes. The program’s goal is to connect families with an ongoing support group system and resource network for managing the health of their child.

National Diabetes Awareness Month The number of Mississippians with diabetes has reached epidemic proportions with new diagnoses adding to that number every day. An additional 850,000-plus are at risk for developing diabetes and if current trends continue, one in three Mississippi children will develop type 2 diabetes. Education on this life-threatening condition is paramount. National Diabetes Awareness Month occurs annually during the month of November. It is a month featuring different awareness initiatives. These efforts include health fairs and screenings around the state, educational programs for school and daycare staff, as well as informative diabetes materials available to anyone who needs them.

Richard and Beth Biedenharn enjoy visiting with fellow parent Siobhan Dickinson through the Diabetes Foundation’s numerous parent networking opportunities.

Mississippi’s Walk for Diabetes In communities all across the state, volunteers have been lacing up their sneakers to join friends, family members, and co-workers to walk for a healthier Mississippi. Held each year at various locations across the state, each participant plays a key role in raising money for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. Their generosity funds the various programs offered by the DFM, including patient and professional education, children’s programs, research, and services for Mississippians living with diabetes. “The varied services that the DFM provides to Mississippians can’t continue without the support of the people of Mississippi. The funding provided from the DFM walks throughout our state will help guarantee these services will continue.”

Herman Taylor, Jr., MD, MPH, and Jaylen at the Jackson Walk for Diabetes

–Shannon Barber, Parent

Lifesaver Campaign The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi provides a free in-service program to all law-enforcement officials statewide. Law enforcement officials receive training to recognize and respond to diabetic emergencies. In addition, law-enforcement personnel are educated on hypoglycemia. The program aims to inform the law-enforcement personnel about medic-alert identification, diabetes license plates and special-coded driver’s licenses, different diabetes medications and supplies, and the symptoms associated with hypoglycemic episodes.


Captain Tony Thornton and Captain Chris Gillard of the Mississippi Highway Patrol visited the DFM to discuss the Lifesavers Campaign for Law Enforcement.

The DFM participates actively in community health fairs and screenings across the state. Through the “Empowerment� program, the DFM provides diabetes education to high-risk populations and blood-glucose screenings at minority churches and community centers.

Do It For Me Exercise is an essential part of becoming fit and preventing health problems. Results from a major clinical trial known as the “Diabetes Prevention Program” proved conclusively that lifestyle modifications such as incorporating daily exercise and eating healthily can halt the progression towards type 2 diabetes in those persons at risk for developing the disease. For those who have diabetes, daily activity will help keep blood sugar closer to normal levels and reduce the chance of developing serious complications. Do It For Me is a healthy living program based on a Japanese workout regimen called “The Goal of 10,000 Steps.” The idea is to count the steps you take all day to try and equal the 30 minutes of daily exercise the U.S. Surgeon General recommends. This is easily accomplished through the use of a pedometer, a device that when worn counts every step you take. Participants in the program receive a pedometer and membership package with walking guide and log book.

Diabetes Discovery Week The third week of March is designated as Diabetes Discovery Week. Diabetes Discovery Week concentrates on identifying the 110,000 undiagnosed people living in Mississippi through free screenings and health fairs and distribution of free materials. The DFM participates in blood-glucose screenings statewide and distributes diabetes information to hospitals, clinics, corporations, churches, synagogues, and county health departments across the Magnolia state. This campaign also focuses on raising awareness about what can be done to prevent or delay the development of diabetes.

Diabetes Car Tag Help is here for Mississippians with diabetes! Thanks to a joint effort of the Mississippi Legislature, the State Tax Commission, and the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, our license plate was launched in August 2002 for people with diabetes. The diabetes license plate signals to emergency personnel that the driver has diabetes, which, ultimately, could help save a life. The DFM’s car tag helps alert law enforcement personnel when a driver may be experiencing a hypoglycemic episode, resulting in erratic driving. The license plate is available to all Mississippi drivers with diabetes at no additional charge if the car title is in the name of the driver who has diabetes. The plate has the DFM’s logo on it and says “Defeat Diabetes.” Drivers can denote diabetes on their driver’s license. The driver’s license has a purple star on the bottom of the license, indicating that the driver has diabetes. There is a space on the license to list whether the individual is insulin dependent or takes oral medications.

Professional Education Continuing Medical Education Symposium Diabetes is more prevalent in Mississippi than in any other state. Because of this alarming statistic, the number of patients with diabetes being seen by Mississippi’s healthcare professionals is increasing. The professional education symposium is designed to provide physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals with a greater understanding of quality care, diabetes prevention strategies, current topics in diabetes management, and the latest recommendations for medical nutrition therapy. Topics presented include translating evidence-based research into clinical practice; administering quality guidelines for diabetes management; understanding diabetes medical nutrition therapy; achieving optimal glycemic control during pregnancy; decreasing the emotional impact of diabetes on patients; controlling glycemic excursions through the use of insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring systems; and addressing health disparities in minority and rural populations. A complete list of class schedules, course objectives, and credit hours is available through our website. “We want our state’s healthcare professionals to implement the latest improvements for proactive diabetes management. It is vitally important for physicians and other healthcare providers to stay abreast of the new treatment options and management recommendations, because diabetes care is constantly evolving and because diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in Mississippi.”

–Rick Carlton, MD President, DFM Board of Directors

James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD

Mississippi’s School Walk for Diabetes Helping others is an important life lesson that teaches children compassion and gives them confidence in knowing they can make a difference. Mississippi’s School Walk for Diabetes is targeted at engaging school-aged children in the fight against diabetes through a school-organized awareness and educational activity. This program teaches school-aged children about healthy habits like good nutrition and active lifestyles. It provides them with information on diabetes – a condition that might affect their classmates as well as family members.

A group of students participating in the Mississippi School Walk for Diabetes

Students participate by organizing a school-sponsored fund-raising activity such as: • Walking, jogging, or running laps on a track or gym during the day of the event. • Keeping up with the number of miles walked during a designated week in P.E. class. • Holding a soccer tournament. • Hosting a basketball tournament between students and faculty.

The program gives students an opportunity to raise support for children’s diabetes programs and research, while increasing their own healthcare awareness. Every dollar raised stays in Mississippi and a percentage of donations goes back to the participating school to help support its health and/or physical-education programs.

Fundraisers Supporting Our Mission The DFM’s signature fundraising event brings together thousands of walkers from across the state to join in the fight against diabetes.

Golf Tournaments Each spring, golf enthusiasts shine up their golf clubs and head out to some of the finest golf courses in Mississippi for the opportunity to take a swing at diabetes. The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi sponsors several golf tournaments all across the state, giving golfers everywhere the chance to score a hole-in-one while raising money for diabetes awareness.

Gene Delcomyn, far right and the BankPlus team at Legislative shootout

The Ultimate Fashion Show and Champagne Brunch Bold colors and bright lights – it sounds like the start of New York’s Fashion Week, but it’s actually the kick-off for the Diabetes Foundation’s Annual Ultimate Fashion Show and Champagne Brunch. Local businesses donate time, money, and the latest fashions, all to benefit Camp Kandu – a bi-annual weekend camp for children with diabetes and their parents.

Car for a Cure The Diabetes Foundation has relied on countless volunteers and supporters to help light the way for the thousands of Mississippians affected by diabetes. Among the Foundation’s most loyal supporters are Jeff and Patty Christie, owners of Patty Peck Honda in Ridgeland, who for over two decades have donated a Honda Civic for the cause of fighting and defeating diabetes. Raffle tickets are sold for the car each year, and every dollar raised stays in Mississippi to provide care and support for Mississippians of all ages affected by diabetes. Jeff and Patty Christie announce the winner of the Car for a Cure Raffle

“We appreciate and applaud the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi for all of their efforts over the years for helping and supporting so many Mississippi families affected by diabetes. Their hard work affects many lives in our state, and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

–Patty Peck Christie Owner, Patty Peck Honda

Bacchus Ball During Mardi Gras, the colors purple, green, and gold abound. Each color has a significant meaning – purple for justice, gold for power, and green for faith. For the Diabetes Foundation, the color green takes on a deeper meaning. Every staff member and volunteer understands it takes a lot of “green” in order to make sure every Mississippian with diabetes has access to the programs and services that only the Foundation can provide. Held every year during Carnival Season, the Bacchus Ball is a way to showcase and celebrate the South’s most legendary holiday, while benefiting Mississippi’s only diabetes organization caring for all Mississippians – children as well as adults – affected by diabetes.

“When the Foundation approached me about chairing the Ball, I was familiar with the work done by the Foundation, and I knew that the programs and services of the DFM would not be possible without consistent funding. I decided that I wanted to be a part of an effort to help raise money for the Foundation to continue its good work of educating Mississippians on the prevention and care of diabetes.”

–Stephanie Rippee DFM Volunteer

Dr. and Mrs. Rick Carlton

Diabetes Education Educational Classes The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi offers free classes in the metro Jackson area, the Delta, and other areas of the state. A complete up-to-date listing of classes, self-management groups, and support groups can be found by logging onto our website.

Diabetes On Call

Warren Jones, MD, FAAFP Executive Director, Delta Regional Institute

Diabetes On Call (D.O.C.) is a free-to-the-public, statewide educational referral program providing one-on-one counseling along with free educational materials. Education is vital to understanding diabetes and self-management of the disease.

“Until there’s a cure for diabetes, the best prescription is education provided by the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. Believing knowledge is power, and people truly can take control of their diabetes if only they know how, I became involved with the Diabetes Foundation’s efforts with raising diabetes awareness.”

–Joann Walk-Ferguson Diabetes Foundation Supporter

Super Conference Nationally recognized experts in diabetes management and research take center stage during the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi’s Annual Super Conference. The conference addresses topics pertaining to both children and adults living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Feature presentations include information for parents, family members, healthcare practitioners, and individuals living with diabetes or taking care of someone with diabetes. Past conference keynote speakers have included former U.S. Surgeon General Rear Admiral Kenneth Moritsugu, MD; Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999; and Luis Bruno, former Executive Chef of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion. Representatives from some of the leading diabetic pharmaceutical vendors are on hand to share the latest information on diabetes research and treatment technology. Activity sessions are also available for children with diabetes.

Rear Admiral Kenneth P. Moritsugu, MD, MPH., former United States Surgeon General

Patient Assistance Helping Hands Patient assistance is another vital service offered by the DFM. The “Helping Hands” program provides free emergency assistance with diabetes-related medicines and medical supplies to uninsured/ underinsured Mississippians. The DFM makes referrals to pharmaceutical-assistance programs and other area agencies.

Animas Representative Cher Crowley demonstrating to a young patient how to use her new insulin pump.

“All of the diabetes medications and testing supplies can be overwhelming and expensive. The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi has really come through for us. They have helped us tremendously during hard times.”

–Sherry Holland, Parent

Pictured second from right, Irena McClain, MPH, Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi at the Zion Travelers Health Fair.

800 Avery Boulevard; Suite 100 Ridgeland, MS 39157 Phone 1.877.DFM.CURE

We Are The Faces of Diabetes  

2010 brochure for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi.

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