More than 50,000 adults across the state have diabetes, according to the North Dakota Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, and more than 190,000 adults have prediabetes.
In an effort to raise more awareness and increase support for those affected by the disease, a Minot woman founded a nonprofit.
Frankie McDowell said, “I have been diabetic for almost two years.”
And McDowell has been walking on eggshells since.
“You have to literally watch what you eat to the point of you have to check the labels to make sure how much sugar there is and if your sugar gets too high then you could lose your eyesight, you could lose your limbs, it affects everything,” she said.
Despite the strict diet, more obstacles have come from treatments.
“My prescriptions are over $2,000 a month just for the diabetes medications,” McDowell said. “So I got to thinking, if this is happening to me this is happening to a lot of other people.”
That simple thought has since blossomed into her own nonprofit.
“Most people don’t know where to look. They don’t know that the manufacturers will give you discounts. They don’t know that a lot of pharmacies offer discounts,” McDowell said.
The organization is called Minot Insulin Services and it acts as a middle ground between sellers and consumers to offer information that will help diabetics save a few bucks.
McDowell says it also provides a weekly support group.
“I wish I would’ve had a better support system when I found out because there’s so much you have to change. You have to change your entire life,” she said.
Another goal she has is professional education.
“I’m going to partner with the American Diabetes Association because then we’ll have access to all of their educational material,” McDowell said.
Dr. Bruce Pugatch, Internal Medicine Doctor with CHI St. Alexius Health in Williston, says diabetes actually affects more people than not and to have more information and awareness brought to the forefront is always welcome.
“It’s important to keep updated information in regards to what medicines are out there for patients and obviously some of these newer medications are just phenomenal,” Pugatch said.
Although McDowell is still learning how to operate a nonprofit, her heart is already in the right place.
“If I could make somebody else’s life easier than mine was when I first found out, that would just be — it would be worth it to me. Everything that I’ve gone through — it would be worth it,” McDowell said.
To learn more about the non-profit and how you can become a volunteer, click here.