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Support Team Fenske in JDRF Walk for a Cure: Fundraising for a cure for diabetes, one T-shirt at a time

Posted: Monday, Jan 14th, 2013

Shown are Alison Fenske’s siblings, all of whom attended the 2012 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure. From left, are Thomas Fenske, Erica Fenske, Alison, Emily Fenske and Ross Fenske. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

On a day that started like any other day, 9-year-old Alison Fenske suddenly started having severe stomach pains, prompting her parents to take her to the emergency room. There her life drastically changed, as she learned she was diabetic.

“That was when we found out,” said Fenske, who is the daughter of Marc and Ann Fenske of Huron. “Then I had to take a helicopter ride to Sioux Falls, where they had a diabetic specialist.”

There are two types of diabetes, type I and type II. Fenske has Type I, also known as juvenile diabetes. “Type I is not preventable and there’s no cure,” she said.

Now 15 and a freshman at Huron High School, Fenske is an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and spreads awareness about type I diabetes.

“Diabetes is when your pancreas, an insulin-producing organ, shuts down,” she explained. “In type I, your pancreas completely shuts down and cannot produce any insulin whereas in type II, your pancreas does produce some insulin.”

Along with educating, she encourages people to participate in the annual JDRF Walk for a Cure in Sioux Falls. Fenske’s family and friends have supported her by walking the past four years in the JDRF Walk. And again this year, Team Fenske will walk Jan. 26 at the Sanford Research Center. The one-hour walk begins at 9 a.m.

Last year, with her Coins for a Cure fundraiser, she helped the Huron Middle School to raise more than $800 for juvenile diabetes research.

“My goal is to raise $1,000 this year,” she said. To do that, she needs the help of others in the Huron community.

She is selling T-shirts that she designed for $15 apiece. The shirts are blue with the words “Team Fenske” on the front and “Taking one step closer to a diabetes cure” on the back.

To purchase a Team Fenske T-shirt, send money and the T-shirt size to her at 39748 207th St. Huron, S.D. 57350 by Jan. 16. Or you can visit her Facebook event page, Team Fenske T-shirts, and order it there. The T-shirts will be delivered by Jan. 22. Fenske wants everyone at Huron High School to wear their T-shirts to school on Friday, Jan. 25.

She says life with type I diabetes can be challenging. “Taking over the responsibility to remember to do everything you are supposed to is definitely difficult,” she said.

But she has gotten some positives out of her situation. “Being an ambassador, I get to recruit businesses to come walk with us, so that’s a really fun part of being involved,” she said. And every summer, she goes to a camp with other diabetic kids. “I’ve met a lot more people that I can relate to that have this, and it has really motivated me.”

For more information about the JDRF, visit jdrf.org.

For the complete article see the 01-13-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-13-2013 paper.

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