CHICAGO (CBS) — Diabetes kills more people every year than breast cancer and aids combined and there is no cure.
On Saturday, thousands of people living with the disease came to McCormick Place to learn more about it and have fun at the annual American Diabetes Association Chicago Expo.
Attendees took advantage of health screenings, healthy cooking demonstrations and access to resources needed to better manage or prevent diabetes.
One family from the western suburbs says it was at the expo they learned about a life-saving canine.
8-year-old Frankie Bush from Oswego was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 15-months.
“My world completely changed when he was diagnosed,” said Frankie’s mom, Deanndra. “Everything I took for granted was really evident at that point in time.”
It was at the expo in Chicago they learned about diabetes alert dogs, service dogs that help monitor the disease.
“We know that Stanley can come to us and let us know at times when maybe we feel we’re too busy or something like that or we don’t expect his blood sugars to have a problem,” Deanndra Bush said.
Stanley, a flat-coated retriever, is trained to monitor glucose levels by sniffing Frankie. If his blood sugar levels are too low or too high, Stanley alerts him by nudging Frankie with his nose, prompting Frankie to check his levels. On average, that’s 12 times a day, and sometimes more.
For Frankie, Stanley is not only his companion but his guardian angel.
“Stanley comes with me everywhere,” Frankie said.
Frankie’s mom says she’s extremely grateful for the diabetes expo.
“The ADA is dedicated to providing a positive experience for families like us and that is invaluable,” she said.
“The expo is pretty fun,” Frankie said. “It makes me feel special and it helps me learn about my diabetes.
The Bush family has had Stanley for about two years. They say the expo makes them feel they’re not fighting diabetes alone.
CBS 2 was a proud sponsor of the diabetes expo.