Thankful for those who choose JDRF

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Giving is a word we’re very familiar with here at JDRF – it’s what makes this organization so great. JDRF was founded by parents determined to give back and find a cure for their children with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Since then, JDRF has made significant progress in understanding and fighting T1D because of people like you who give their time, talent, voice and donations to enable us to advance research even further.

This #GivingTuesday, we’re highlighting two individuals who have given greatly to JDRF and became part of our T1D family without personally knowing anyone impacted by the disease.

Roxann Martinek, a Hy-Vee employee, has been involved with JDRF since 1998. Unlike many of us in the type 1 diabetes community, Roxann had no connection to the disease when she first got involved.

At the time, Roxann was chosen by her store director to be in charge of fundraising at the Hy-Vee grocery store where she worked. She sold JDRF paper sneakers and put together a small team to participate in her local JDRF walk.

“I really didn’t know anything about T1D prior to that time,” says Roxann.

Fast forward 20 years and it is very clear that that is no longer the case. Today, Roxann’s involvement with JDRF goes far beyond her workplace where she still actively fundraises and recruits throughout the year for JDRF One Walk and the Ride to Cure Diabetes.

Roxann’s husband, Tim, has also become an active member of the JDRF community by serving as a local JDRF Ride coach. When asked to pick her favorite JDRF memory over the last 20 years, Roxann recalls the 2010 JDRF Ride in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

“I have a wonderful connection to T1D now. I have met so many wonderful families that face the daily challenges that T1D brings,” says Roxann, “there is something very special about the T1D community.”

The connections that Roxann has made within this community have led to her involvement in advocacy and participation in several JDRF events like One Walk, Rides, galas and family team fundraisers. She’s even served on her local JDRF Board of Directors!

“My husband Tim was our local ride coach and had just been diagnosed with cancer.  We had talked with his doctor about delaying his treatment by a couple of weeks so that we could still attend the ride that year.  We knew that being a part of the JDRF Ride was an important part of his recovery efforts.”

Then there’s Jim Fisher, a Ford employee, who received a company email in 2016 encouraging him to join Ford’s corporate ride team for the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. Like Roxann, Jim didn’t know much about type 1 diabetes at the time but as an avid cyclist, he decided to raise the funds and participate with his corporate team.  

Watch Jim tell his story

“I went to Tahoe with zero connection to T1D and left with over 400,” said Jim, “I couldn’t help to be drawn in and want to make a difference.”

Jim has now participated in several JDRF walks, galas and 9 Ride to Cure Diabetes events – 6 of which have been as a national Ride coach.  He is affectionately known within the Ride community as “Jimmy” and is an active member of his local JDRF chapter where he works to recruit new riders.

When he’s not training for a JDRF ride, you can find Jim selling raffle tickets at state fairs and picnics to raise money for the organization. He says he already has a few new creative fundraising ideas in store for 2019.

“I have met so many families that have benefited from the research that JDRF funds.  I want to be there when the cure comes. I want the UAW/Ford to be able to say we helped fund the research that will save so many lives.” 

No matter what your reason for giving to or getting involved with JDRF, we appreciate all you have done for this community – not just today on #GivingTuesday, but every day.

By jmrobinson