Al Kole first got involved with JDRF after his son was diagnosed with type one diabetes (T1D) at the age of 2 years old. After the diagnosis, he formed a team for the Atlanta Walk and raised money in honor of his son. Since that time, Al has been involved in a wide variety of programs with JDRF focusing on fundraising, advocacy and outreach.
According to Al, fundraising for research is where he feels he makes the greatest impact. “There is so much going on in that space,” says Al “My recent visit to Georgia Tech’s research team in Atlanta focused on encapsulation efforts. I feel this area has the greatest chance for broad success. Also as a parent, I believe research is a very tangible method of support and which provides hope for my children during their lifetimes.” Al now has two children with T1D.
Over the summer of 2017, Al decided to sign up for the 2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon relay through Team JDRF. The event “seemed like a fun way to raise money, create awareness and push myself for my children,” says Al, and he convinced a friend to sign up as his relay partner and, together, they raised nearly $3,000.
Of his race day experience, Al says “It was a great experience from start to finish. The whole event was VERY well organized and a lot of locals turned out to support the runners; it was very exciting and motivating. I raised nearly $3000 and got a special treat while running. A young girl running with her dad noticed the back of my JDRF shirt. They ran up to me (I was not hard to catch) and the girl mentioned she was recently diagnosed. We ran together for a short while and “talked” (panting) about T1D’s challenges; I told them about my two sons and that I was running to help raise research funds. They both thanked me and ran on, very special!”
A huge thank you to Al for his participation and all he and his family do to support JDRF. We highly encourage you to follow in his footsteps and become a member of Team JDRF. To check out event offerings and fundraising packages, please visit www.team.jdrf.org. Questions? Contact Jennie Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-395-5980.