UPDATE: 10/12/15: Now that Joey met his goal to become a Champion, he wants to be the #1 Individual Walker this year at the http://main.diabetes.org/goto/Joeyspage Step out/Stop Diabetes Walk this coming Saturday. Guess what?? He’s currently in 1st place! Thank you to everyone that is making this kid so successful in his walk this year.
We are so excited that Joey is an official “CHAMPION” of Diabetes. To earn the title “Champion to Stop Diabetes” with the American Diabetes Association, it means that you have worked hard to raise $1,000 for a diabetes event. In our case, Joey is raising money for the ADA Step Out/Walk to Stop Diabetes, October 17th, in Milwaukee. It’s a title that made me think, what does “Champion” really mean? Isn’t everyone with diabetes a true Champion, along with their families? There are a few definitions in the dictionary for the word Champion, the two that fit our Joey and all living with diabetes are:
Any family living with a chronic illness knows that their child is a fighter, and a lot of families work hard towards finding a cure for their child’s illness.
Type 1 diabetes is not a disease that you can see when you look at Joey. If you watched Joey on the football field you would never know that he has a chronic illness, or that it takes a lot of hard work, planning, and courage to be on that field. A lot of kids leave sports once diagnosed, because it truly is hard work, however, because Joey had a great mentor in Jake Byrne, he never gave quitting a second thought. I did, and that’s how Joey and Jake became friends. Joey wanted to play football so bad that when he was only ten years old he reached out to Jake who at the time was on the WI Badger football team. Jake went on to spend a few years in the NFL, with type 1 diabetes. When Jake arrived at the University of Madison, at age 17, he was 5th string, with three future NFL tight ends in front of him. He felt discouraged and frankly hated football at this time because it seemed impossible, but when his tight end coach said “Fight for your own limitation,” a shift happened within him.
For me, meeting Jake, a true Champion in my mind, (the fact that a WI Badger football player took time out of his impossible schedule to talk to me) was a game changer at how I looked at Joey’s own limitations. It would be up to Joey to make it or break it in football, and anything else in life that he truly wants. I’m proud to say that Joey’s freshmen football team has a 5-1 record. Joey also suits up for Varsity each week, is even on the Varsity roster.
There are so many ways to describe a Champion, for the ADA it’s a person who works hard to fundraise money for a great cause, for us, it’s all the families and friends that we’ve met along our journey with type 1 that continue to support each other and our family.
Thank you to all of you that have made our Joey a Champion to STOP diabetes..
For more information, or to make a donation to Joey’s page, please go to:
Excerpts about Jake Byrnes life were taken from his new book: http://www.amazon.com/First-Goal-Football-Taught-Giving/dp/0736961895/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444502307&sr=1-1&keywords=first+and+goal