INDIANAPOLIS -- The first team of Hoosier helpers from Eli Lilly and Company returned home from delivering critical care to people living in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico on Saturday.
Dawn Justus is a nurse and part of the team of Lilly workers that fanned out across Puerto Rico to help those still recovering - especially those suffering from diabetes.
"The diabetic population there is above average for the world just seeing what they eat on a daily basis because all they can afford is rice and beans stuff with lots of carbohydrates which is not the best--so any fruits and vegetables wiped out," said Justus.
Not only is their diet affected, but it’s been a challenge for diabetics living on the island because many still have no electricity and no way to keep their medicines refrigerated.
“It's hard to comprehend what they've been through from lights, refrigeration, gas just to get places," said Justus.
Lilly's global volunteer program Connecting Hearts Abroad partnered with Project HOPE – visiting clinics and health fairs across the island to make sure people are managing their diabetes and getting the medication they need.
Their united efforts bring a personal touch to families emerging from one of the deadliest and most destructive Hurricanes to strike the Caribbean.
"It was a very humbling experience being able to experience," said Justus.
A new study recently found the death toll from Hurricane Maria is likely at more than 4,600 – more than double the number of deaths reported from Hurricane Katrina.