Family of Juvenile Diabetes Sufferer Raises Money for Research

Anytime someone receives an unhappy diagnosis, a certain amount of anxiety is natural—especially when you find out the condition is incurable.

“Learning to care for a person with Type 1 diabetes is definitely a challenge at first,” says Cindy Greenizan Smith. As the mother of a teenage son, Zach, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2005 when he was only nine, Smith is dedicated to aiding other families who have to learn to help their children live with the diagnosis.

On May 15, Smith and her family held a fundraiser in Winnipeg to aid the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) in its efforts to research cure, treatment and preventative therapy options.

The turnout of 170 people helped them raise almost $5,000 for the cause. “I was super happy with the amazing turnout we had,” she says.

Smith describes some of the challenges they faced through their steep “learning curve” in dealing with the disease. “We all changed our eating habits and our routines,” she says. “It can be, especially at a young age, very regimented.

“He would eat breakfast at 7:30 am every day, which would include 2 needles [of insulin].  His lunch would be at 11:30, [he’d have] a snack at 3:30 and dinner at 5:00 with another needle and a bedtime snack at 8:00 with another needle.  All the while [we were] counting his carb intake so we would know how much insulin to give him.”

The fundraiser featured performances from two local bands, 10-piece group TMC and WTL, a group Smith’s nephew plays with. “They both totally rocked it,” she says. “I couldn’t have asked for better entertainment; they blew everyone away.”

Smith made sure attendees were rewarded with door prizes, a lottery tree and several other prizes, including a ladies beauty package, movie passes, a set of patio furniture, autographed CDs and professional sports jerseys.

Social media and word-of-mouth played the biggest roles in promoting the fundraiser, but they were able to get a few plugs for the event on local radio.

Two moments of the night really stand out for Smith. “The highlight for me was when our second band of the evening called my son onto the stage to sing with them. It was awesome! The doctor that treated my son in the emergency room [when he was first diagnosed] came to the event. He remembers my son well, and Zach was able to meet him.”

Smith was able to put the evening together without much trouble, and says that the key is developing a system.

“The planning was fairly smooth, and the best advice I can give is to stay organized. The more spreadsheets and lists you have, the better.”