Walk Across Generations

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JDRF One Walk Team members celebrating 20+ years of bravery

Mike Haenni (back center) at his first JDRF One Walk with Kayla’s mom, Trisha Yettke (far left) 

JDRF One Walk is more than a fundraiser, it’s a community. Meet two Walk team members who found support and inspiration in one another. 

Mike: Living with T1D for 49 years 

In the mid-1970s, Mike Haenni was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of 26. The diagnosis came as a surprise, even though his father lived with the condition. “I erroneously believed I was immune because type 1 skipped generations,” Mike said.  

His initial healthcare provider was a general family practitioner. He soon switched to more specialized care, where his T1D management improved…and continues to. “Initially, I checked my glucose through urine and tablets in a tube, then finger sticks,” he recalled. “Today, I do it using a continuous glucose monitor and pump.” 

Kayla: Living with T1D for 19 Years 

In the mid-2000s, Kayla Taszarek was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 10. The diagnosis came as a surprise, but her family was already very familiar with T1D. “I’d grown up with knowledge of type 1 diabetes because my mom was diagnosed in 1977,” she said. 

Kayla has seen “drastic improvements” in her T1D care since her diagnosis, especially with automated insulin delivery systems. “There are still plenty of ups and downs and difficult days, but the safety features, more sleep, and more time-in-range have significantly impacted my quality of life,” she said. 

A New T1D Champion 

A few years ago, Kayla and her husband bought a house and got to know their neighbors—one of them was Mike! “My mother-in-law knew Mike and that he had T1D,” Kayla said. “She made that connection for us.” 

Kayla, a development manager at JDRF’s Kansas and Missouri Chapter, encouraged Mike to join the JDRF One Walk team she leads with her mom, Blondes with ‘Betes, so he could experience the huge local T1D support community. “Walk is our day for anyone and everyone to come together,” she said. “Whether you’re a child or an adult, you get to celebrate your strength and walk together towards a future without type 1 diabetes.” 

Mike jumped right in and invited his daughter and son-in-law to join. He even joined the T1D parade as part of the 20+ Year Champions group. “I can’t think of a more impactful way to feel the energy of One Walk,” Kayla said.  

 Mike is very thankful that Kayla showed him the incredible Walk community, and they’re both looking forward to walking in the coming years.To feel the love and support of your community means everything, whether it’s your first One Walk or your tenth,” Kayla said. 

The JDRF One Walk accelerates research, powers advocacy, and provides support for everyone living with T1D. Registration is open now! Find your Walk at walk.jdrf.org.