Nationals' pediatric diabetes center opens at Children's

Photo: Steve Chenevey/ABC7

The Washington Nationals have more than just baseball on their minds. The new{ }Pediatric Diabetes Care Complex at Children's National Medical Center will give families with children with diabetes a place to learn how to deal with the disease.

The opened doors signify the culmination of a six-year project for the Nationals Dream Foundation.

“One of my goals in developing this foundation is I wanted projects that were regional in nature, not D.C. centric,” says Marla Lerner.

The new complex is home for more than 1,600 children in the Washington region with diabetes, like Evan Schwartz.

“I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 5,” he says. “If you just got diagnosed you don’t know what you’re doing.”

In the new facility, parents and patients will learn proper exercise and diet routines in a controlled setting. A local chef has donated a high-end kitchen, and doctors will be available both in-person and via teleconference.

“We’re changing the paradigm by having the children sit in a medical home and have the specialists come to the children,” says Dr. David Wessel says.

It’s perfect for parents overwhelmed by sudden changes in their child’s life.

Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting was extra special with Nationals baseball players interacting with some of the kids.

“You just look at the look on their faces and they’re kind of in awe and starstruck with Gio here,” says Ross Detwiler.

“This facility, the whole complex is beautiful,” says pitcher Gio Gonzalez. “Just seeing the life come out of these kids, hearing them talk and how they’re great sports fanatics.”

The Nationals Dream Foundation is also starting a baseball academy in Southeast Washington. They hope to be playing ball this fall.