Lisa Klumok’s life changed forever on March 26, 2008 when her two-year old son Bobby was diagnosed with T1D. “He was just a baby,” she says. “It was painful that first day home to tell him the shots, finger pricks, insulin injections, scheduled meals and middle of the night blood checks were not over, but would continue everyday – until there is a cure.” The family searched for support and found JDRF. Years later, Lisa would herself become a source of inspiration and encouragement for other families who face this diagnosis.
Those early days were difficult. Lisa recalls, “Our nightmare diagnosis was magnified by the fact that there is no exact formula to care for a young child with T1D and there is no cure. Every day is different, but in a way they are all the same – no rest.” Lisa was physically and emotionally consumed by managing her son’s disease. She says, “I was living blood check to blood check, every two hours.”
After some time, Lisa restored her own well-being but was now on a mission to band together with others who cared for a child with T1D. She found her first fellow mom through JDRF and “from there I called ten complete strangers…our only connection was our children’s diagnosis. Do you know what? Every one of those mothers returned my call!”
Feeling empowered and energized by the synergy she was finding from others, Lisa continued to gather more parents together. She and her husband hosted a play date at their house for children with T1D and their parents. Bobby met his first friends who use pumps, meters and syringes. With the assistance of JDRF, this fun day was the dawn of the Midtown Support Group. Lisa says, “It is now a tribe of women, and a few very brave men. I have met amazing parents, remarkable teachers and warriors against this relentless disease.”
Trey Moore, Georgia Chapter Executive Director, says, “Lisa is a passionate and enthusiastic volunteer for JDRF, an assertive advocate for T1D issues, and, with her husband, Todd, a fundraising powerhouse. If you tell Lisa ‘no’, you better have a darn good reason.” Not surprisingly, Lisa currently serves on the Outreach Committee and Gala Committee. Her husband Todd shares her commitment to JDRF and is an active member of the Georgia Chapter Board of Directors and the chapter’s golf committee. Each year, the entire family – from North Carolina to Virginia and all the Georgia aunts, uncles and cousins – participates in the Walk to Cure Diabetes. In 6 years the team has raised $290,000 to find a cure for T1D. This year Lisa and Todd are honored to co-chair the JDRF Hope for a Cure Gala in Atlanta.
Bobby is now a very active eight-year old who loves baseball, playing tag and riding his bike. T1D has not slowed him down and the family conquers each day with hope. Lisa says, “My hope for Bobby is that he has a long, healthy, happy life. I hope that what he has gone through will make him a strong and generous man. But I hope he will be relieved of this burden.” Until then, Lisa will continue the fight, along with her tribe.