The Fight to Cure Type 1 Diabetes Began with His Son
Gregg Terry’s oldest son Ryan was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) 21 years ago at the young age of four. It was a devastating shock to Gregg and his family. Ryan had otherwise been a healthy and active little boy, so it took time to understand and accept his diagnosis. Gregg researched and reached out to every contact who could possibly help. Being in healthcare, he had unique access to physicians who understood his frustration and concerns surrounding his son and many offered their help.
MOVING TOWARD A CURE
In the 21 years since Ryan’s diagnosis, Gregg has dedicated time and energy to countless causes associated with this disease, most importantly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The JDRF funds research that transforms the lives of the 1.25 million Americans affected by Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle, there is no way to prevent Type 1 Diabetes, and there is no cure.
While the JDRF’s mission is to find a cure, they continue to drive scientific progress that delivers new treatments and therapies that make day-to-day life with T1D easier, safer, and healthier. JDRF also supports the most promising scientific research to cure, prevent, and treat T1D. With the generous support of donors like Gregg, JDRF is pursuing a diversified, dynamic research agenda to move closer to a world without T1D.
GREGG’S HISTORY WITH JDRF
Gregg has been involved with JDRF since 1999, when he attended the first Central Jersey Chapter Gala. Moved and inspired by the mission and staff, he and his wife Debra committed fully to the cause. In addition to ongoing financial support, Gregg and his company, Educational Resource Systems, Inc., have provided many years of pro bono services as well as hosted JDRF events at their offices in Red Bank, NJ.
Gregg has attended every Chapter Gala since 2000. He has participated in JDRF walks and has served in various capacities on the Board of Directors. Gregg builds alliances with individuals and corporate donors, on-boarding influential talents to help raise awareness and increase financial support each year. In 2016, Gregg and his family were honored as the first JDRF Family of the Year and recognized at the Annual Gala for their unwavering passion and commitment to JDRF’s mission.
HELPING OTHERS COPE
In addition to his own financial generosity and garnering financial commitments from others, Gregg’s personal availability to meet with and discuss the parenting, management, social, and other pressures with newly diagnosed families and individuals is outstanding.
As Gregg tells it, “When I first found out Ryan had Type 1 Diabetes, I was overcome with shock, despair, frustration, denial of the diagnosis…it was completely devastating, a day I will never forget. I felt like the health of our little boy was stolen and was replaced with a life sentence of insulin injections and finger sticks. The overwhelming constant concern for Ryan’s health from that day forward was something I would never wish on any parent. So I help families through those early stages of diagnosis. I feel their pain. The confusion, the unknown, the how, what, and why overwhelms the family no matter what the age of diagnosis.
“All newly diagnosed families have the same concerns, ‘Will my child live a normal healthy life with Type 1 Diabetes?’ If their age of onset is very young as was Ryan’s (age four), major concerns are how will they know when they are experiencing a blood sugar high or low, who will be there to help them, what about playdates and school, sports, social settings, stigmas, and so on. Once they ‘accept’ the diagnosi, families ask about treatments, research advances, and, ultimately, a cure. Of course the discussion always includes proper monitoring of blood glucose levels and approaches to the best blood sugar control. In addition, I suggest looking to role models and leaders, celebrities and sports figures who have Type 1 Diabetes to see how they continue to live a normal healthy lifestyle. I also feel blessed to be able to tell them firsthand that they and their child will get through this and life will soon take on a ‘new’ normal. There is nothing stopping their child from doing what he or she sets out to do. I proudly tell them about Ryan and the wonderful, healthy, active young man he’s become. Not only do I feel I am helping give them hope, but I am also reminded myself of how far we’ve come and how rewarding it is to be able to share our story.”
Gregg J. Terry is President and CEO, Educational Resource Systems, Inc., 2 Bridge Avenue, Building Six, Second Floor, Red Bank, NJ 07701.
He can be reached at 732-842-0202 or email@example.com.