There are 26 million people in the United States with diabetes and it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the country. But a Sioux Falls mom hopes to turn the statistics around after her young child was diagnosed earlier this year.
"Super sweet is what we call River because we think he is so full of sugar," Bethany McKenzie said.
Being sweet is a quite literal description of River McKenzie, 5, after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in March.
His mom Bethany says the energetic child lost five pounds in five days.
River's body destroys the insulin-producing cells of his pancreas. After three days in the hospital, he now wears a pump on his abdomen to regulate his blood sugar levels.
"He's proud to talk about it. He likes to show off his pump. If you ask him if he has diabetes the first thing he'll do is lift his shirt so he can show you where his pump site is on his abdomen," Bethany said.
One in every 400 children under the age of 20 has diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, with thousands more suffering from pre-diabetes.
Bethany says she wants to help other children in her son's situation by giving money to the organization.
By hosting a Super Sweet Zumbathon Thursday night, she hopes to raise thousands of dollars toward diabetes research in honor of World's Diabetes Day.
"It’s a very serious disease and there are serious consequences but we want to put a positive light on it," Bethany said.
The Super Sweet Zumbathon kicks off at 6 p.m. at The District in Sioux Falls. The cost to get in is $15.
The District also pledged five percent of the day's sales toward the American Diabetes Association.