On December 13th, I was notified by JDRF National, that I was recognized as one of the November 2013 JDRF Heroes Award recipients. Although this is a great honor and I am truly humbled to be recognized; I am not a hero nor am I “the” hero. This recognition made me think about the person that is my hero…my daughter Micheala.
On May 10, 2009, Micheala was diagnosed with a disease that there is currently no cure. At 4 years old, and even today at the age of 8, she looks and acts like a normal kid. She participates in sports, dance and various other activities. She goes to school and gets good grades then comes home and plays like any other kid. On the outside, she looks fine, but it’s what is happening on the inside and behind closed doors that makes her different from the average kid.
Unable to produce her own insulin, Micheala has to account for every carbohydrate that she puts into her body by giving herself insulin through the use of an insulin pump. Any mistakes made in figuring her carbohydrate to insulin ratio can result in either high blood sugars or low blood sugars. Any blood sugar readings outside of her target range (80-120) has its own little side effects, which can range from frequent urination leading to dehydration or worst case scenario….death. It’s a constant balancing act that requires priority status.
As most of you know, we decided that we were not satisfied with the idea that complications from Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) would someday be Micheala’s fate. We decided to become active and do something about our situation, so we simply just got involved with Eastern Iowa JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
We started a Walk to Cure Diabetes team, Pump Princess, in 2009 to raise money to fund research for the prevention, treatment and cure of T1D. In our first year, with the help of our friends and family, we were able to raise a few thousand dollars. Like most people, I wanted to make sure that the money that we were raising went towards research…after all, our mission was to cure our daughter. That is when I learned that JDRF allocates 82.5% of all funds raised to research. This motivated us to continue raising money for this great organization because JDRF has a plan to progressively create a world without T1D, which mirrors our goal.
We have continued to raise money for JDRF by increasing our fundraising efforts. We continue to participate in the Walk to Cure Diabetes, with this year marking our 5 year anniversary. My wife, Heather, has participated in the past two JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes, in which she fundraises then rides her bicycle 100 miles on a hot day in Lacrosse, Wisconsin to raise awareness for T1D research.. We have participated and contributed to the past 3 JDRF Gala events which raises incredible amounts of money for T1D research. In August 2012, I left an executive position to join the Eastern Iowa JDRF staff as a Development Coordinator, which has been completely life changing for me, as I get to meet incredible kids and adults that live with T1D. These people have become my family….my purpose for writing this letter.
In closing, I am writing you today because we need a cure for those that live with T1D. Your generosity can help us achieve this goal. Your donation will help fund the many different research efforts that JDRF is currently funding, including the beginning of Encapsulation human trials (which are scheduled to start in April 2014) or the current Artificial Pancreas Project trials (which have already had positive out of hospital human trial results).
I made a promise to my daughter, Micheala, in which I told her that I would do whatever it takes to eliminate T1D from her life……and that’s what I plan to do.
Thank You again for helping us make Type One…Type NONE!
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