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The College and JDRF Host Boo Fest 2017

Published on 01 November 2017

Costumed kids and families living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) descended on the Quad on Oct. 29 for an afternoon of candy-free fun. For the 11th year in a row, the College partnered with JDRF, the leading global organization funding T1D research, to host Boo Fest, a free event offering a safe and healthy alternative to trick or treating for children with T1D.

Those taking part in Boo Fest 2017 enjoyed a variety of Halloween-themed games and crafts, face and pumpkin painting, a bounce house and T1D-friendly refreshments. Those in attendance included JDRF kids and families, and the friends and families of College faculty, staff and alumni.

According to JDRF, nearly 200,000 individuals nationwide under age 20 are currently living with T1D, many of which are young children. For kids with T1D, Halloween can be a challenging time, as they struggle to keep their blood sugar levels in check amid a seemingly endless supply of sweet treats.

Once known as juvenile diabetes, T1D is an autoimmune disease which causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy. While the cause of T1D is unknown, and the disease has no cure, it is treated through the management of blood sugar levels with insulin, which helps to prevent disease-related health complications.

“T1D is typically diagnosed in childhood, and those that have the disease will have it for the rest of their lives,” said Erica Crannage, associate professor of pharmacy practice. “From the moment of diagnosis, it’s all about counting carbs and dosing insulin based on carb intake.”

Since candy is composed of refined, simple sugars that are quickly absorbed by the body, Crannage notes that it’s critical for parents of kids with T1D to monitor Halloween candy intake to control blood sugar levels.

“No matter the kid, you never want them to gorge on candy, but this is especially true for kids with T1D,” said Crannage. “Those with T1D have to account for all of the carbs that are coming in from any candy they consume, and then dose a specific amount of insulin to counteract those carbs and prevent a rise in blood glucose levels.”

For children with T1D, candy-free events, like Boo Fest, can serve as great ways for kids to enjoy all the fun of Halloween without all the sugar.

“Our students and faculty members understand that Halloween can be a difficult time for kids with T1D,” said Crannage. “This is why they are so passionate about hosting Boo Fest. Year after year, they go above and beyond to bring this fun and memorable event to campus. We are so grateful to partner with JDRF to make this special day possible for area children with T1D and their families.”

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