About Us - Help a Diabetic Child

About Us

Help a Diabetic Child Story

On December 22, 2010, our 16 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We very quickly realized two very important things. The first; this disease is not one where an individual can lead a “normal” life and secondly it is costly, even with health insurance. Within a few short months we learned that there were a significant number of children in who were unable to get adequate supplies for blood glucose testing, something that must be done multiple times daily.

Living with Type 1

Everyday is a Challenge for a Child with Type 1 Diabetes.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes presents daily challenges for all children that have it, but it is only compounded for children that lack the supplies to treat Type 1 Diabetes. Read on to learn more about the disease, and some important statistic on Type 1 Diabetes.

Board of Directors

Tami Balavage: President/Founder

Michael J Haller MD, Medical Director: Dr. Haller is an active investigator in the NIH funded Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet studies as well as The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in Youth (TEDDY) study. Dr. Haller has also served as the principle investigator of “first in man” studies aimed at using autologous umbilical ….

Dedicated To Providing Children With Vital Diabetic Supplies and Insulin

Quick Facts on Type 1 Diabetes

  • New cases: The incidence of diabetes in 2012 was 1.7 million new diagnosis/; in 2010 it was 1.9 million.
  • Cost of diabetes: $245 billion.
  • Prediabetes: In 2012 , 86 milliion Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes; this is up from 79 milliion in 2010.
  • In 2012, 29.1 million children and adults in the U.S. – 9.3% of the population had diabetes.
  • Deaths: Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2010, with 69,071 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 234,051 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying contributing cause of death.
  • Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. in 2012 was $176 billion for direct medical costs, $69 billion in reduced productivity…After adusting for the population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.


  • Patient
    Thank you for supporting me with my insulin. It’s really helpful in these days. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for you. God Bless You!
  • Donna
    We had help a couple of months ago from HADC as we had no insurance. I thought when we got the ObamaCare that it would help but it seems that they are trying to get him on state help and so we are back at no insurance for him right now. It will cost me 900.00 for both his insulin and over 100.00 for test strips. Our doctor thought I might be able to get a few supplies for my son until I can figure out what insurance he will have either state or ObamaCare.
  • Debbie
    American Diabetes Association told me about your company. My daughter just got an insulin pump last month, and now they canceled her insurance. I'm so upset and worried for her. She takes Humalog, I don't know how I'm going to afford all her medicine and supplies. I have been looking at all the insurance plans and they are so expensive, it's crazy. If you are middle class, then it is not affordable. The cheapest plan I can find is $4715 per child before they pay for any medication and doctor visits, and I have 3 children. Florida Kid Care is not affordable if you have to pay the full payout. I think its nuts they go by gross and not net income and don't take into consideration your school loans, mortgage, car payment, utilities, etc. I'm sorry, I'm just upset and worried.
  • Kara
    I have a 9-year-old daughter with T1D. She has been on Medicaid or Healthy Kids for her entire life. She was diagnosed 5 years ago. We recently got kicked off of healthy kids and put onto a full pay plan, we went from $20.00 a month to $372.00 a month for insurance. I am looking for some assistance with her insulin and diabetes supplies. I went to fill her insulin prescription for the first time with her new plan and the pharmacy told me it would cost $568.00 for a month’s supply. Her plan does not cover her pump supplies or test strips either. I can’t afford that.
  • Desmond Schatz, M.D. is Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director of the Diabetes Center and Director of the Clinical Research Center within the CTSI at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He was the 2016 President of Science and Medicine of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Schatz has been involved in Type 1 diabetes research since the mid 1980’s and has published over 330 manuscripts, the majority related to the prediction, natural history, genetics, immunopathogenesis and prevention of the disease, as well as the management of children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) on several NIH awards including the University of Florida Clinical Center participating in the NIH-funded TrialNet, NIH-funded international newborn genetic screening (TEDDY) program in North Central Florida and the on the NIH-funded Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) Grant amongst many others.
    Desmond Schatz
  • Patient
    I just calculated by insurance and I am going to be paying $737.00 a month through my company and that’s the most I’ve ever paid for insurance. That is almost two weeks of my paychecks just to have insurance, I’m not sure what else I can do.
  • Janet Rodriguez, RN, BSN, CDE is a licensed Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator with the University of South Florida.She obtained her Nursing Diploma from Jackson Memorial Hospital / University of Miami and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from San Francisco State University. Her nursing career began at Jackson Memorial Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care and she continued to work in the PICU, nursing management, and Quality Improvement at Children's Hospital of San Francisco and California Pacific Medical Center. Janet is a certified trainer for all of the insulin pump and CGM devices and she provides education to pediatric and adult patients, their families, and other caregivers including, school nurses, medical support staff, and administrative personnel. She also supports our clinical research efforts in new technologies. Janet has been an active supporter of diabetes camps since the 1990s, serving as camp nurse at camps in California, Indiana, and Florida. She currently assists with the Florida Diabetes Camps' Sam Fuld Sports Camp, Family Camp, and Adventure Camp.
    Janet Rodriguez
    RN, BSN, CDE
  • Tami & Joe
    Thank you both for your support for me and helping me buy needed supplies. It really helps take stress and pressure off me and my mom know that we have people like you that will help us in troubled times. It is truly a blessing for us and I look forward to giving back as much as I can.
    Tami & Joe
  • Henry Rodriguez, M.D. is currently a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida (USF) in the Department of Pediatrics, Clinical Director of the USF Diabetes Center, and PI of the USF TrialNet Clinical Center. His career has focused on collaborative clinical research, clinical care, and education in type 1 diabetes. Dr. Rodriguez served as Principal Investigator and Clinical Center Director for the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Indiana University Clinical Center beginning at TrialNet’s inception in 2001 until his departure in 2010. He was recently awarded funding as PI and Director of the USF TrialNet Clinical Center. He has been an active member of the TrialNet in multiple capacities including Chair of the TrialNet Natural History Protocol Committee since 2010. He is also the PI for numerous diabetes clinical studies including the T1D Exchange USF Center and 9 industry sponsored trials investigating therapies in children and young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
    Henry Rodriguez
  • Timothy S. Harlan, M.D., FACP, currently serves as Associate Dean for Clinical Services at Tulane University School of Medicine is the Executive Director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, the first of its kind teaching kitchen operated by a medical school. The center offers an innovative program teaching medical students about diet and lifestyle that bridges the gap between the basic sciences, clinical medicine, the community and culinary education. Medical students work side-by-side in the kitchen with culinary students to teach each other and, most importantly, teach the community and patients how to return to their kitchens and transform their health.
    Timothy S.
    Harlan, M.D., FACP
  • Mark Atkinson, Ph.D. is the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research and the Jeffrey Keene Family Professor at the University of Florida. Dr. Atkinson has devoted more than 30 years of investigation into the field of Type 1 diabetes. He is the recipient of multiple scientific and humanitarian based awards for these efforts. He has also been active in a leadership service to the type 1 diabetes community, with active administrative or advisory service to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Diapedia, The American Diabetes Association, The National Institutes of Health, and the Immunology of Diabetes Society. Finally, Dr. Atkinson is active at a global level for causes related to the care and treatment of those in the third world; especially and including persons with type 1 diabetes. For this cause, he serves as President of Insulin for Life USA, and is an Advisor to Life for a Child.
    Mark Atkinson
  • David H. Wagner Jr., Ph.D. is currently the Investigator and Head Section of Immunology for the Webb-Waring Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Read more about Dr. Wagner's investigations lab.
    David H. Wagner Jr.
  • Dolph and Sharon Von Arx have been philanthropic and service pillars of the Naples area for over thirty years. Numerous organizations have benefitted from their generosity which in turn has enriched our community greatly. Organizations and institutions fortunate to work closely alongside The Von Arx Family are; the Naples Business Accelerator, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Youth Haven, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, NCH Healthcare Systems where Mr. Von Arx served as Board Chair for 11 years, The Community Foundation, Hodges University, The Naples Museum of Art, and The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts just to name a few. Dolph and Sharon have been in leadership positions in almost every organizations they have lent their names to and continually strive for the betterment of our area. Serving as co-chairs of this Second Annual Naples Von Arx Family Foundation S.W. Florida Diabetes Conference has raised the bar of this conference's goals to educate diabetes treatment, preventions, and research to the entire Naples Community; and help to further established it as an annual mainstay at the Greater Naples YMCA.
    Dolph and Sharon
    Von Arx
  • Patient
    "Food or medication, feed my family dinner or buy my sons life saving insulin. I never thought I would have to choose between feeding my family and life saving medication and supplies for my 4 year old. When I think I can't handle anymore I get more added on to my shoulders. As I type this my little one asks for an apple, I hand it to him and his little hand brings it to his mouth to take a bite and all I can think about is how much the apple costs and how I can gather some change to get him another one. Working 7 days a week, budgeting every dollar, meal planning every meal and snack, couponing, shopping clearance, we don't eat out, we don't waste money on processed snacks or junk food, and yet it's not enough. I still sit and stare at his medical bills and my empty bank account, tears quietly roll down my cheeks without the kids knowing. This disease has devastated our lives. Everyday is a struggle to keep him healthy and to keep up with his medical supplies. The struggle to put food on the table is harder and harder. Sometimes I feel helpless today is one of those days, weeks, months...."
  • Stephanie and Courtney
    To all those involved: My daughter Courtney and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kind contribution, so Courtney is able to attend Session 2 at Camp Winona. As a nurse, I was planning to volunteer my time at session 2 to assist these precious kids. I did this last summer and truly enjoyed the experience. As a volunteer, my daughter would also be able to attend the camp for free. Unfortunately, due to my own medical issues I will have to undergo unexpected surgery just before the start of camp and will be unable to volunteer my time. Which in turn, means Courtney would be unable to attend camp for free. As a single mom with 3 kids finances are tight. Because of the generosity of people such as Lowell and Nancy Lohman and their donations to Help a Diabetic Child (HADC) Courtney is able to attend camp with the sponsorship of HADC. Thank you again from Courtney and me for all you do for the community and this life-altering opportunity. The camp provides the opportunity for these beautiful children to be "normal kids" while learning to own their disease and take charge. Have a blessed week.
    Stephanie and Courtney
  • Patient
    “Dear Tami, thank you again for your help. The monitors and strips have been invaluable, its a great monitor and my son can now test his own sugar. We are having trouble getting insulin and wondered if you can help. I have been getting free samples from a diabetes camp, but I realized they are out of date and I only have 2 left (both out of date). I have talked to my son's school, they have arranged an appointment at a salvation army clinic so I should be able to get a prescription, but wondered if you know of anywhere I can get help with the prescription cost.............I have lots of lantus for now and its in date!! yeahhh. but the novolin insulin I am really struggling with. Thank you again for your time.
  • Sabine
    These past four months with the Libre have been AMAZING! My fingers have healed and my A1C has gone down. Being able to see a graph of my blood sugar and where it’s headed has been helpful to see what’s happening while I’m asleep or in class. It gives me an indication of how certain foods affect me. Now that I can see what direction my blood sugar is going I can see when my blood sugar is starting to drop or go up and I can match my feelings to my blood sugar. When I was just finger sticking I would start to feel low and I would go to the nurse but my blood sugar wasn’t low. I knew that I was dropping but I had no way to prove it. Now I can see where my blood sugar is going just by simply scanning the Libre. I can now treat it before I get too low. I truly appreciate you providing me with this technology to help manage my T1D. Love,
  • Patient
    Dear staff and donors of Help a Diabetic Child, I was hospitalized with DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). I had just gotten sick and had been extremely dehydrated causing my acetone level to skyrocket. Before that, during the month of April, I had started making preparations to start my own business after I graduated college so that I could afford insulin since I had no insurance with my previous job. Paying bills for three months on savings quickly depleted my account. I found myself no longer able to pay for insulin and my stress level was at an all time high. I had tried starting my own business only to see more debt. Furthermore, I had applied to various jobs and had gotten no response. At the hospital, when I found out I was at DKA, all of my frustration came out. I couldn’t even provide for my health. Help a Diabetic Child came in and helped us greatly. You went above and beyond to pay for my insulin. Because of you, I was able to be covered for two months. Your organization helped me get back on my feet, starting with my health. Now I am working for a company as a dispatcher. I still do not have insurance, but hope to have it soon. Our HR department is currently working on the problem. I personally wanted to thank Tami and everyone that made this possible for me. Thank you for serving me with tender care. May God bless your organization and your lives. Thank you,
  • Patient
    To whom it may Concern: I am 26 years old. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 2017. At the time I was working full time and on my Moms health insurance. Since I've been diagnosed I've struggled with finding the right doctors, the right testing supplies, the right insulin and the right doses of insulin. At the same time I've been struggling with depression and I am having trouble holding a job due to my sugars bouncing around and just not having good control. I am currently unemployed and living with my brother and his family who also struggle with their own finances having four children. I am a recent patient of Doctor Tami. She has been very helpful and I think now we might be headed in the right direction with which insulin and supplies work for me. Unfortunately I am no longer on my Moms health insurance as of October 2019. I need help. I am hoping to stabilize in order to move forward and go back to work full time. Hopefully with health insurance in the future but in the meantime I have no way to pay for my supplies and Doctor Visits. Doctor Tami offered Help a Diabetic Child as a possible means of help in this. I can use all the help that I can get. I want to regain my health and move on with my life. Thank you for your time and consideration,
  • Patient
    I just want to thank you for helping me out when I really needed it. I have type 1 diabetes for many years. I also have a sister who has type 1 diabetes as well. Over the past years I have been battling with insurance and how I was going to pay for my insulin and diabetes supplies that I need. I finally got insurance through my dad that would cover me until I was 26 and was so thankful. My dad got a new job and had to switch to a new insurance company which was fine, until they ended up terminating us before the 30 days which I didn’t find out until I went to get my insulin and the pharmacist told me the cost would be $381.00 for one month. I could not afford that so for 4 days I was trying to figure out what I was going to do, how I am going to pay for my insulin. I ended up in the hospital with DKA for 2 days. The Diabetic Specialist at the hospital found HADC to help me pay for my insulin. I am so grateful you could help me. There are no words to explain how lucky I was to find Help a Diabetic Child foundation. Me and my family are so happy to find a local charity to help.
  • Patient
    Sarah a college student was referred to HADC by her endocrinologist. Sarah’s mom had just passed away from lung cancer and their insurance was cancelled. Sarah was in need of insulin and syringes to hold her over until she was able to get back on an insurance plan. HADC purchased a 3 month supply of insulin and diabetes supplies for Sarah. Sarah writes “I just wanted to send so many thanks for paying for my insulin this morning. I can’t explain how much I appreciate it. There was no way that I could have afforded the insulin at $1,100.00. I am not sure what I would have done without you guys” Sarah writes “Thanks so much for following up with me. I got my insurance situation all figured out and was able to get everything I need. Thanks so much for your help! I appreciate it immensely. Everything at school is great! Thanks Sarah”.
  • Patient
    HADC helped this teenage boy after their family lost everything due to the devastating hurricane in the Bahamas. Hope you are doing well and thanks again for all your help with our disaster recovery. And as far as I know now it's still uncertain as to what we are going to do hopefully we will get something figured out but as soon as I know I'll be sure to let you know. There is still no Pharmacy on my island so getting supplies are very limited. Most infrastructure is still down. We again are so happy we got a contact for you guys. And we will never forget what you guys have done and hopefully continue to do for us. My son needs some of the 4mm needles that go on the insulin pens if possible he has some 8mm but a bit difficult trying to get it right for injections he hasn't complained but I see him trying to get it done. Again he's a trooper we are soooooo proud of how he is handling this and in this time especially. Received the package of supplies and again we say thank you soooooo much and you have no idea of how much we appreciate you guys. When my son seen the needles he was pleasantly surprised. We are so thankful for your help. Stay safe. Kind regards. God bless Hope you guys are doing well and staying safe. We were wondering if you guys were shipping any supplies in this most serious time. We are almost out of strips and can't find any alcohol swabs don't know if you guys have any of them Received everything you have no idea on how much this means to us. We can never say thank you enough I didn't tell my son anything about the supplies coming, he had no idea until it was placed in his hands this afternoon and he was pleasantly surprised. Because if I wouldn't have found you guys I don't know what I would have done God bless you and hopefully one of these days we will cross tracks and meet in person.
  • Patient
    To whom it may concern: Good afternoon, I have a 9 year old daughter with type 1 Diabetes. She has been on Medicaid or healthy kids for her entire life. She was diagnosed 5 years ago. We recently got kicked off of healthy kids and put onto a full pay plan, we went from $20 dollars a month to $372 a month. I am looking for some assistance with her insulin and supplies. I went to fill her insulin prescription for the first time with her new plan and CVS told me it would $568 for the month’s supply. Her plan does not cover her pump supplies or her test strips either. I can’t afford that. I’m kind of lost and don’t really know what to do, so I’m asking for help and direction. I went on your website and submitted my name and email for an application for assistance. I just wanted to know what you think my next steps should be. Thank you for your time. Best regards,
  • Gail
    Dear Tammy & Joe, I am writing to you to thank you and let you know how very grateful I am for the endless support you gave me in my hour of need in regard to my Novolog insulin. I went into the gap and there was no hope, no help, no understanding of my despair. Needed an advocate w/ a heart to ride in on a white horse and save me. YOU DID!! You helped greatly and showed me how dedicated, professional and caring individuals you truly are. You gave me hope to be alive to share my story. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving me. Both of you worked extremely hard to get things done, when many others could not. I hope others knows what an asset you are. I will pray that I can continue with your foundation, at least until the end of the year and whenever I find myself in the gap. Hopefully 2019-2020 will continue from this point on a positive note and our relationship will continue. God Bless You! Please feel free to call me, text, email me or write anytime. Thanks again! Very Fondly,
  • Patient
    Dear Mrs. Balavage, I want to take a moment to extend my sincere gratitude to you and your organization – Help a Diabetic Child Foundation (HADC)! The impact for the diabetic child we have worked together on these past few weeks is life changing for her and her family. The child has been provided the medical care, education, tools, and supplies - thanks to HADC Foundation. The lab results are improving from a daily blood glucose level of close to 300 down to 120’s as well as establishing baseline levels on various blood tests. The medication adjustments are proving to afford this child to take less daily long acting insulin. The family is being provided excellent diabetic support, learning the importance of these small changes that will result in a lifelong different path for their child. The child is doing well, feeling better and taking control of her disease. We never fully know the burden one is carrying. Knowing the challenges this family was facing with little to no health care resources to tackle the disease, makes our appreciation for HADC so much more than I can simply verbalize. Please know this child is actually smiling these days! May God Bless you all! Theresa, RN, MSN (School Nurse)
  • Patient
    Dear Tammy thank you very much Bud received his life saving supplies yesterday. It really means a lot to us and we are very thankful to Help a Diabetic Foundation. You all mean the world to us and always will!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! Poor Bud had a tough summer just got released from the hospital he went into DKA last Saturday spent a week in hospital...so coming home to a box of presents (diabetes supplies) was especially special! “Feeling truly blessed;)))) my son's box of diabetes supplies arrived today!!! We cannot thank you enough for all for your help and support…Without you we’d be scrambling to pay for test strips, skipping sugar counts and reusing syringes…..From my family to yours there is hope n angels do exist.”
  • Patient
    When our 7 year old daughter was diagnosed with T1D, Help a Diabetic Child Foundations was there for us when we were told that we needed to have $1,500 worth of diabetic supplies before our daughter would be released from the hospital. We already had to borrow from a loan to pay for the hospital deductible and didn't know how we would be able to pay. Thanks to Tami and Help a Diabetic Child foundation, they bought the necessary supplies for us. We will forever and eternally be grateful to them! Thank you! Myriam
  • Patient
    Carlos was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus in May 2018. We are currently requesting assistance with diabetes supplies and insulin for Carlos if possible. During the time Carlos was diagnosed with diabetes, his mother was hospitalized from, at which time she was in a coma and fighting for her life. His mom is now residing in a LTAC (long term care facility). Carlos is currently uninsured and in need of medical supplies. His mom, is also diagnosed with diabetes and due to the financial strain has suggested she will share supplies with Carlos. However, this is highly not recommended. Therefore, we are requesting as much assistance as possible with his diabetes supplies and insulin. Carlos is no longer enrolled in school. He is currently working in hopes to help support his family financially. He works construction making $14/hr. He works 5-6 hours for the day and works 5 days a week. Any assistance that can be provided to this family would be tremendously appreciated. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Thank you again.
  • Myriam
    When our 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with T1D, Help a Diabetic Child Foundations was there for us when we were told that we needed to have $1,500 worth of diabetic supplies before our daughter would be released from the hospital. We already had to borrow from a loan to pay for the hospital deductible and didn't know how we would be able to pay. Thanks to Tami and her foundation, they bought the necessary supplies for us. We will forever and eternally be grateful to them!
  • Lisa
    Thank you so much for what you are doing for my son! The Sure Comfort syringes are only 30 units. Those are the most comfortable though - and he can use them for the smaller dosages. Thank you so much. You are unburdening me more than you know. God bless you and your family, Tami.
  • Jay reveals how, despite having Type 1 Diabetes, he has pushed himself to incredible personal triumphs. Jay an ironman triathlete and practising attorney knows what he is talking about, he shows audience how they too can overcome whatever lifes throws at them and can still reach unimaginable levels of success and teamwork. An Ironman Triathlete and practicing attorney, he is the only person with Type 1 diabetes ever to qualify for the U.S National Triathlon Team.
    Jay Hewitt
    Ironman Triathlete

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