Local municipalities stepping up for Whitby diabetes centre’s ‘Building on the Best’ campaign

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Published January 26, 2023 at 2:35 pm

Doctor giving diabetic girl insulin injection at home

The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre’s Building on the Best Campaign still has a long way to go but financial commitments from the Region and several of its municipalities have given it a major boost towards the goal.

The Brooklin-based diabetes centre, which delivers specialized health care exclusive to type 1 diabetes, launched their Building on the Best campaign in 2021 with a goal of $5 million to fund an expansion to meet demand that is expected to double in the next few years.

The Best Centre has received support three years ago from the City of Oshawa with a pledge of $25,000 a year over two years and the Town of Whitby pledged the same amount over ten years. As well, Durham Region approved a $340,125 Community Investment grant, bringing the total to more than $640,000.

Executive Director Lorrie Hagen has been making the rounds of local councils in recent weeks and has also received committee-level commitments from Clarington and Pickering for $25,000 a year for four years each (the requests are now in the hands of budget committees) and have had “productive” talks with the Town of Ajax.

Lorrie Hagen, Executive Director of the Charles Best Centre

“The Building on the Best Expansion Campaign is essential to ensure children, adolescents, adults, seniors and their families continue to have access to specialized type 1 diabetes care in Ontario,” Hagen told Pickering Council in her address to Council. “The expansion is necessary and long overdue. If we do not build, a ripple effect of poor access, poor outcomes and ultimately a strain on both the primary and acute care systems will ensue.”

The support from Durham’s municipalities has been very encouraging, Hagen said.

“With roughly 80 per cent of our patient population residing in Durham region, it is great to see the municipalities and Region bring their support to the table” she said. “They clearly appreciate that this expansion is a priority in our community for this specialty healthcare service.”

The Best Centre, founded in 1989, has also asked the Province of Ontario for support and put in a request at a recent pre-budget consultation for $1.75M to reach their goal.

“Expansion is a necessity right now as we expect patient demand to more than double in the next five years” said Board Chair Serge Babin. “The support we receive from members of council, MPPs, and MPs is essential in order for us to continue to provide our one-of-a-kind care to people living with type 1 diabetes.”

The money will be used to fund a renovation of the two existing structures and an addition of a supplementary conjoining space. On completion the centre will have full first floor accessibility, 18 patient counselling spaces, a new large event and education space, six meeting rooms and an additional clinic room with a children’s play area.

The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre for Diabetes on Columbus Rd. E. in Brooklin

Diabetes Facts:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an incurable, complex disease. It must be managed 24-hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Without insulin, death is certain.
  • Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas does not produce any insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that is required to control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
  • The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre sees almost 2,000 patients and conducts more than 28,000 healthcare interactions per year to support patients living with type 1 diabetes.
  • Roughly 5-10 per cent of people living with diabetes have type 1 diabetes, insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes generally develops in childhood or adolescence but is also diagnosed in adulthood (25 per cent). People with type 1 need to inject insulin or use an insulin pump to ensure their bodies have the right amount of insulin to survive.

For more information on the centre and its fundraising campaign visit www.charleshbest.com#buildingonthebest.

Dr. Charles Best and Sir Frederick Banting, the inventors of insulin

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