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The Rector Diabetes Education and Resource Center

Dreams do come true, especially if you bring together the right combination of resources, knowledge, dedication and energy and then apply a dash of inspiration and a lot of hard work.

The Rector Diabetes Education and Resource Center on the Labette Health campus is such a dream. It began when Rhett May was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 2. His grandparents, Jacque and Kelly Rector, of Parsons, were disappointed in the amount and quality of diabetes-related information available to caregivers, educators and others who might be part of Rhett's life.

Working with pediatrician Manish Dixit, MD, and a Labette Health committee, the Rectors developed a vision of a facility that could affect the spread of diabetes by educating those most at risk—children. The vision was shared with allies in the battle against diabetes, including Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and the excitement grew. A generous donation from the Rectors to the Labette Health Foundation funded construction of a home for the vision.

The result of their efforts was a 2,000-square-foot building that contains classroom space and a demonstration kitchen, plus a vibrant mix of high-tech fitness equipment and interactive media kiosks. The new facility was dedicated Nov. 17.

"Lifestyle changes are best made in young age groups," Dr. Dixit says. "We have to invest in the health of our community by controlling obesity and future diabetes."

Studies show that conditions such as adult heart disease and atherosclerosis originate in childhood, Dr. Dixit said, noting that children between ages 5 and 17 with a body mass index (BMI) greater than the 85th percentile are 2.4 times more likely to have high cholesterol, 3 times more likely to have high LDL, 3.4 times more likely to have more HDL, 7.1 times more likely to have high triglycerides and 4.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure.