Great Lakes Credit Union and Little Lake County are proud to bring you “Kirby’s Kids: Little Hands, Big Hearts.” This program recognizes an extraordinary child each month and brings you their stories of determination, hope and goodwill.
Since she was three years old, Kristen has dealt with the trials and tribulations of being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. A diagnosis that would be difficult on anyone, but especially a child that young, has turned a young girl into a positive role model for many children that suffer from the same disease.
Although the diagnosis of Juvenile Diabetes is a difficult one for both Kristen and her family, she has remained positive and open about her disease from the very beginning. She lives a very different life than those without diabetes, but still manages to look on the bright side of all things. All of Kristen’s days are filled with testing and treating her high and low blood sugars. Her diet needs to be monitored, and more often than not, her sleep is disrupted by a variance in her blood sugar levels. She had to learn how to dose herself with insulin, but now uses a pump, which has made her life a little easier by cutting down on the amount of times she needs to test her levels. Despite the small advances in technology, most of Kristen’s life is spent monitoring her levels, which leads to a severe disruption in her educational and social aspects of her life. Despite these hardships, Kristen never lets that get her down. Instead, she turns it around and focuses on charity work, specifically for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
In many ways, Kristen is just like so many other kids her age. She loves to read, ride her bike and go to Great America. She loves taking vacations with her family, enjoying Washington D.C. and Disney World the most. What sets her apart from others though, is not so much her disease, but her unwillingness to sit back and feel sorry for herself. Every year she rallies her friends and family to participate in the annual JDRF walk at Independence Grove. Last year, her team, the “Rakers Rockets,” raised over $17,000 for the foundation and had 150 walkers as a part of her team! An amazing feat for a young girl, but even more impressive was the work she does beyond that. In May, 2016, Kristen organized a garage sale/bake sale/fundraiser for JDRF, raising over $5,500 with the help of her family and friends.
Besides the pure joy of raising so much money for an organization close to her heart, Kristen loves the social aspect and sense of community of the fundraising efforts. She and her sisters spent months putting together LEGO sets for the garage sale, which was a huge money maker for the garage sale! Her sisters and her friends love to all bake together too, so they enjoyed the time they were able to spend together baking for the bake sale.
Kristen and her family hope that you can take part in finding a cure for this disease by donating to JDRF, or joining a team in the JDRF Walk on October 2, 2016 at Independence Grove. Kristen’s experiences with her disease has given her another goal to achieve as well. She aspires to be a nurse when she grows up, and knows that she can help others in need. She is a giving, dedicated, and driven young lady, and will surely achieve all the dreams she sets her mind to achieve. Diabetes has not stopped Kristen from succeeding in life, doing things for others and dedicating her time helping people. She is truly a courageous young person, and we should all look up to her for her unwavering dedication to finding a cure for her disease.
Each and every one of our Kirby’s Kids gets to meet Kirby the Kangaroo at their local Great Lakes Credit Union branch. Kirby met Kristen at their local Antioch branch and opened up a youth savings account in her name with a $50 starting balance, courtesy of Great Lakes Credit Union.
Do you know an inspirational, courageous or exceptional young person living in Lake County, (age 13 or under) who is serving as a role model in his or her community? Help us recognize these big hearts! Nominate a child for the Kirby’s Kid program.
Follow this link to complete a nomination form. If your nominee is selected we will contact you and/or the child’s guardian for inclusion in the Kirby’s Kids program.
For more information about the Kirby’s Kids, read our program introduction.
Disclosure: Great Lakes Credit Union is the paid sponsor of the Kirby’s Kids program.