Lincoln diabetes fundraisers raise hope for a cure

Many of us either know someone with Type 1 diabetes, or know someone who has a connection to it in some way. 

Right now, there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but fundraisers throughout Lincoln are giving many hope that one is on the horizon, especially those dealing with it at such a young age.

Like Kaden Kunze, a fourth grader at Norris Intermediate School.

At nine years old, he should be living a pretty care-free life.  But sometimes, that’s not always the case, since Kaden has Type 1 diabetes.

“It’s hard sometimes cause sometimes I get low, so when I get low I get hungry, and when I’m high I don’t feel the greatest,” Kaden said.

Type 1 diabetes is something Kaden has lived with now for more than half his life – it will be seven years since his diagnosis in October.

His mom, Tamara, says finding out was a shock.

“We’ve never had anyone in our family with type one diabetes, so it was a whole new world for us,” Tamara said.

At the time of his diagnosis, Kaden was only three.

Over time, he’s learned to give himself insulin shots and test his own blood sugar.

“I get a test strip and put it in my meter and then I just poke myself and get a little bit of blood and it tells me what my number is,” Kaden said.

But even with Kaden’s maturity, Tamara says there are days where it’s tough.

“I mean, there’s days he hates it and there’s days he wishes he didn’t have it, and I wish I could take it away, but he is truly amazing, he is brave and he does it with out any complaint,” Tamara said. “He really takes care of himself.”

Those tough days are exactly why the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been working towards a cure for Type 1 diabetes for nearly 50 years.

Unlike many other careers, those working with the foundation would rather not have a job.

“I want to work myself out of a job,” said Laura Eberly Reiner, Development Manager for the JDRF Greater Nebraska-Southwest Iowa Chapter.

Laura has worked with JDRF since her own diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes.

She says developments like the insulin pump and Dexcom glucose monitor have brought researchers closer to a cure, and made the lives of those with Type 1 easier.

However, none of those developments or research would happen without fundraising.

“Right now, Hyvee and Lazlo’s and FireWorks are selling sneakers for JDRF, and those are huge partners to us,” Laura said.

When you fill out one of those sneakers, Tamara and Kaden want you to know that your dollar is changing someone’s life.

“A dollar matters, it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it, but every time someone donates, that one dollar is so much closer to a new future for these kids,” Tamara said.

In the end, a life without diabetes is all they want.

“I would feel happier – I mean I am happy, it’s just I would like not to have it,” Kaden said.

“I think he’s going to do awesome, I think he’s going to have a great future and his hopes are high, he really does want a cure, we all do,” Tamara said.

The sneaker campaign is still happening at local HyVee locations, as well as Lazlo’s and FireWorks.

JDRF also has a walk coming up on September 22, you can learn more about it here.

Categories: Top Stories