Maybe you grew up doing the One Walk with your family. Maybe you have a friend with Type One and see what they have to go through each day. You’re looking for a way to get involved with JDRF and meet other young professionals who share the same passion for helping those with T1D.
The JDRF Young Leadership Committee (YLC) is a group of young professionals in central Indiana that help raise funds and awareness for JDRF.
James Gahn is a type one diabetic and member of the YLC. He’s noticed the role that the YLC events have in JDRF.
“The YLC annual event(s) can help bring in donors who are uninterested in either the family nature of the walk or the more formal nature of the gala. We help spread T1D awareness and get people involved with JDRF as a way to help those affected by T1D and share their experiences.”
The JDRF’s major events, the Walk and the Gala, leave a gap in potential small-to-medium individual donors. The YLC attempts to cover this gap by raising awareness through social events and fundraisers.
The main fundraising event for YLC, Bar Olympics, will take place on February 17th of this year. Teams of two or four will travel along Broad Ripple Avenue competing in games such as Jenga, Cornhole, Flippy Cup and more. Beginning sharply at noon, the games will compete until 4 pm where teams will gather at Landsharks for scoring and prizes. The event is open to the public and anyone over the age of 21+ is encouraged to sign up.
A Direct Connection
Many of the members the YLC either have T1D themselves or know somebody that has been affected by T1D. Britt Putka, President of the YLC, has seen the impact of T1D firsthand through her sister who was diagnosed ten years ago.
“My sister has struggled with her numbers and had a lot of issues using the pump at the start, I remember my parents having to wake up and help her throughout the night because she was going low or really high. Since then, it is always the first thought and in the back of our minds when we leave the house or go out to eat. In addition to all that, whenever we go on hikes or do anything really active, we have to stop frequently because she is going low and needs to test or eat a snack. “
Noticing how her sister has a dealt with T1D Putka wanted to become more involved. Starting as a volunteer for the Promise Gala, she was asked to join the YLC when the group was formed. Since joining, she has held various roles and accepted the position of President in August of 2017.
“I support JDRF because I strongly believe in the cause and efforts that JDRF makes to help kids and people like my sister who struggle with this disease,” Putka said. “Diabetes is becoming more and more common and the support of technologies or finding a cure can save so many people’s lives. I can’t stress how amazing and important that is.”
Diagnosed in 2001, James Gahn has been living with T1D for seventeen years. As a diagnosed diabetic, James has experienced the highs and the lows that come with constantly having to monitor his levels.
“I was with my father and we were already sitting in a restaurant. I have hazy memories of the event, including the inability to read the menu. I couldn’t even recognize the letters of the alphabet on the page. I can vaguely recall my dad’s panicked face as he urged the waitress to serve me any sugary drink.”
Now 29, Gahn has found a system that helps him manage his diabetes. He’s taking this opportunity to give back in hopes that there will be a cure found.
“I think every person with T1D dreams of being able to eat any meal without a second thought or to leave their home without a bag of supplies. Diabetes is a heavy burden that never gets easier, we just get used to it.”