I’d like to highlight someone who is doing a great job making a difference in the lives of children. Her name is Michelle Alswager, and she is doing a phenomenal job of raising funds and much-needed awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Her involvement began five years ago when her son Jesse was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was three years old. I admire how Michelle has taken such a difficult situation and turned it into a positive and passionate mission to help not only her son, but also children and families all over the world. Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with juvenile (type 1) diabetes, the most severe form of a disease that annually accounts for almost $100 billion in health care costs in the U.S. alone. Insulin is not a cure for the disease; it is merely life support. The threat of devastating life-limiting and life-shortening complications such as blindness, amputation, heart disease and stroke, and kidney failure are an ever-present threat. It is destructive both to children and childhood, requiring a grueling regimen of eating a carefully calculated diet, checking blood glucose levels several times each day (by lancing a finger) and as many as six insulin injections a day just o stay alive. It means children and families living by the clock, day and night, for the rest of their lives – lives that turn out to average about 15 years less than normal. You can’t outgrow juvenile diabetes. The only solution is a cure. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has the mission of finding a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research as soon as possible. Michelle is just one regular, loving, committed Mom who has made an incredible difference. She has organized Team Alswager for the Walk to Cure Diabetes, and in the years since Jesse’s diagnosis, the team has raised over $22,000. Michelle organized a cookbook fundraiser featuring recipes from various Wisconsin celebrities and politicians. She has also volunteered her time to serve on the Board of Directors for JDRF and provides support for newly diagnosed families all over the world, including Japan and India. This year, besides the annual walk, she’s taking on a new challenge – riding 105 miles through Death Valley, California to raise $3,400 for the cause. I just think it’s awesome what Michelle and her family has been able to accomplish. It is a true testament to the power one person can have in this world. Here is her goal, simply and powerfully stated: CURE JESSE no more needles no more blood testing no more low blood sugar reactions no more worrying about school field trips no more parents afraid to have him come over to play no more worrying about finding babysitters no more “Mom! STOP talking about diabetes!” no more fighting with insurance companies about what I think is best for my child No more.I have had the honor and privilege of meeting and working with both Michelle and Jesse, and I wish them nothing but ultimate success. Keep up the great work! You can find out more about Jesse, the upcoming Walk to Cure Diabetes, and the myriad of ways to help out at Team Alswager’s Official Web Site.
- - - | written by Jason on | - - -