REMARKABLE WOMEN: Local woman working to find cure for Type 1 Diabetes

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Often times moms want to fix everything for their children, but sometimes the problems are out of their control.

“We did not just want to watch and wait, we wanted to act,” Susan Pohl said. “It’s definitely a labor of love.

And if there’s no solution, they’ll do everything they can to try and find one.

“We talk alot about Take 1 down, taking Type 1 Diabetes down,” Pohl said. “When Jill and I started this foundation, it was because of our daughters.”

At just 14, one day would change Kailyn and her family’s world forever.

“About 5:00 p.m. the phone rang and it was the doctor’s office,” Pohl said. “They said, ‘Susan, you need to get Kailyn to Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh, Emergency Room is waiting for you.'”

She’d soon learn her diagnosis.

“I was in disbelief,” Pohl said. “What are you talking about, like right now we need to go? I said what’s going on? You’ll find out when you get there.”

It was Type 1 Diabetes, an incurable disease where your body stops producing insulin. Your life centers around managing your blood sugar levels, and daily shots become your life support.

“No family deserves this,” Pohl said. “No family wants this and I can’t wait to take my daughter out again for a Blizzard and she not be wearing a pump or have to give herself insulin.”

After her daughter’s diagnosis, Pohl didn’t want to just sit back and let diabetes take its course, she wanted to make a difference. She co-founded the Blair Type 1 Diabetes Foundation in hopes of helping researchers one day find a cure.

“This is Maddie,” Pohl said. “She was on our committee with Blair Type 1 Diabetes Foundation a couple years ago, and now she’s working at Joslin where we’ve donated $84,000. I will not quit this, and I will not quit it because my daughter deserves a world without diabetes.”

Through various fundraisers like the annual gala that’s held each year in February, almost $100,000 has been raised for Type 1 Diabetes cure-based research.

“If my contribution is making sure that this foundation stays afloat, making sure that we have fundraisers, making sure that we are in contact with the right people to donate te money to that are actually working towards a cure, that is what I’m going to do,” Pohl said.

The foundation doesn’t just raise money, it also serves as an outlet to educate others about the disease, and brings people together, to know they’re not alone.

Kailyn is now 20 years old and in college, just like others living with Type 1, she’s gone on living a healthy life, but that doesn’t change her mother’s mission.

“This diagnosis isn’t going to stop them from what they dream of being and that I’m proof of that,” Kailyn said. “I want to be inspiration for kids.”

“I’m not going to stop,” Pohl said. “We will continue to donate money to cure-based research until one of those people are or it hits the paper that there has been a cure found for Type 1 Diabetes.”

Until that cure is found, Susan Pohl won’t give up.

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