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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Jack’s and Children’s of Alabama announced a partnership today to raise funds for juvenile diabetes by inviting statewide communities to purchase paper icons for $1 at Jack’s restaurants throughout the region June 3-30 and increase awareness through in-store signage. This targeted campaign will support ill and injured children at Alabama’s only hospital dedicated solely to the treatment of children through specialized medical care.
For years, Jack’s CEO and Owner, Benny LaRussa, and his son, Sterling Capital Management President Benny LaRussa Jr., have supported programs that benefit research for juvenile diabetes.
The money raised throughout the campaign will go toward three initiatives, including supporting the transitional clinic, a collaborative effort with UAB’s Kirklin Clinic that transitions diabetic patients from child to adult care.
“Research is required to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. However, this campaign is significant because these children need to be cared for until a cure is found,” said LaRussa Jr. “Today, Children’s is largely taking care of those patients. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”
Dr. Mary Lauren Scott, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s of Alabama, emphasized the push in all regards for transitional care as it relates to diabetes. As a chronic illness, there is no cure, meaning children will continue living with the disease and treating it for life.
“The main issue for some of these children is that they’ve been diagnosed as infants, toddlers or grade-schoolers. At that time, the parental figures administer the medicine, navigate the physician’s office, work with insurance, fill prescriptions – basically everything that comes up when you’re dealing with a medical problem,” she said. “What we try to do is not only prepare the patient for college or their career after high school, but prepare them to be responsible patients who will know how to take care of themselves as adults.”
The transitional program begins when patients are as young as 15 years old. Educators offer basic transitional teachings and hold yearly retreats to teach patients about transitional issues in a more intensive fashion.
“The unfortunate reality is that adult providers are not pediatric providers. Their offices are not set up to provide the intensive care that we provide in pediatrics,” said Dr. Scott. “Our goal is to train each patient to be self-sufficient so they do not fall through the cracks.”
In addition to the transitional clinic, the money raised will go towards maintaining and improving the standard of care given to juvenile diabetics whom are treated at Children’s. Funds will also support a fellowship program that recruits residents throughout the country who complete their endocrinology fellowship at Children’s.
“The demand for endocrinologists is exceedingly high, making it very difficult to attract talent into the field of diabetic medicine,” said LaRussa Jr. “We‘ve worked together to develop a fellowship program to recruit talent as part of their training with the objective of getting them to Birmingham and welcoming them as part of this community. Ideally, their experience will be such that, upon graduating, they will have a strong desire to stay at Children’s and serve this community.”
Emily Hornak, Director of Community Development at Children’s, emphasized the need for such programs and hopes the campaign will have local recognition for a cause that has international implications.
“The paper icon campaign enables every person to have an impact on the greater good for Children’s of Alabama, knowing that 100 percent of the money stays local,” said Hornak. “Sometimes people think that a dollar doesn’t matter, but when you add up every person who supports this program, you have a large impact. Every customer and person in the Jack’s community has the opportunity to make a difference.”
For more information on the Jack’s and Children’s of Alabama paper campaign, visit www.childrensal.org or www.eatatjacks.com/jacksgivesback.
About Jack’s Family Restaurants, Inc.
Jack’s Family Restaurants, Inc. was started in 1960 in Homewood, Ala. The restaurant specializes in fresh burgers, crinkle-cut fries and hand-dipped shakes. Jack’s has more than 100 stores across the Southeast- with locations in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. Since 1960, many things have changed in our world, but one thing has remained the same: Jack’s is still serving up great food, with a smile.
About Children’s of Alabama
Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past three years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 634,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 47 other states. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at www.childrensal.org.