Rita Schunk





  • Participants at a JDRF One Walk

I'm the take steps towards a cure type.

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Welcome to Rita Schunk's Personal Page

Hello! This year, I'll be taking part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes as a virtual walker.  I have a conflict on Sept 29, but I still have a team and will be raising money for JDRF.

Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, is a devastating disease that affects millions of people, a large and growing percentage of them children.

There is some good news, though. JDRF is our best hope for finding a cure. It funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide (including research being conducted at UW-Madison) and it's making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure.  82% of funds raised directly support research.  That's why Smart Money magazine named JDRF one of the top 10 charities you can trust.

Now, more than ever, you can make a crucial difference. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible? Together, we can make the cure a reality!

This is the story of our family's connection to diabetes:

My late husband, John, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 14, having no family history of diabetes. 

When John and I started dating, he was beginning to have eye trouble.  John was told that he was going to be totally blind soon -- because of diabetes.  He resigned from his police officer job.

John decided to enter college to find a new career he could do despite being totally blind.  John and I married the following summer and had a son a few years later.  While I was pregnant with Eric, doctors discovered John's kidneys had failed to a point that a transplant was needed -- because of diabetes.  Fortunately his father was able to give him a kidney.

After obtaining an undergraduate degree, John graduated from law school. He started his own law practice, and life changed again.  John had quintuple heart bypass surgery -- because of diabetes.  His heart was so weak going into the surgery that the odds were very much against his heart restarting after surgery.  But it did, and John made a full recovery.

John was still recovering from that surgery, when he began to have foot and leg infections that led to numerous hospitalizations.  This went on for several years and resulted in John losing the front half of one foot and everything below the knee on the other leg -- because of diabetes.

Although John's kidney transplant had served him remarkably well, he was told it was finally failing.  While John went through tests to see if he could survive another transplant surgery, he had to start dialysis.  At the same time, I finished up tests to see if I could donate.  The answer was 'yes.'  Just days later, John had a cardiac arrest. He was immediately unresponsive and died five days later at the age of 46 -- because of diabetes.

And our son, Eric, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 15 (about a year and a half before his dad's death). An insulin pump has helped Eric balance his diabetes with his active life.  But he must live with this disease every day until a cure is found...

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Date and time

September 29, 2013
Check-in: 11:00 AM
Starts: 12:00 PM
Length of walk: 2 miles


Warner Park
2930 N Sherman Ave
Madison, WI



Elizabeth Meland
Email | (608) 833-2873

Western Wisconsin Chapter
434 S. Yellowstone Drive
Suite 202
Madison, WI 53719