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INDEPENDENCE — Instead of competing against each other, basketball players from Summit View Middle, Twenhofel and Simon Kenton teamed up to raise money to fight diabetes.
Simon Kenton basketball coach Trent Steiner said it all started with sophomore Alex Childers and his dad, Chuck.
“He was diagnosed with diabetes suddenly last year,” said Chuck. “We wanted to do something to fight back, so to speak. When Alex made the team this year, we thought this would be a great thing to do, and thankfully Coach Steiner was all for it.”
In January, Alex’s teammates on the junior varsity team and Simon Kenton’s freshman boys basketball team decided to have a Shoot-a-thon to raise money either by set pledges or for each basket they shot during a certain period of time.
They just kept meeting people and soon, eighth-grade teams from Twenhofel and Summit View were added into the mix.
The Summit View team includes Erich Jakubowski, who was diagnosed with Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes in 2010.
“When I heard about it, of course, being near and dear to my heart, I knew I wanted to help,” said Don Jakubowski, Erich’s dad.
Jakubowski said his family has participated in walk-a-thons, but this event was special.
“This was especially neat because it was his school, and his team, and his friends,” said Jakubowski. “These events are good for everyone because they not only have the immediate gratification of raising money, they also bring awareness to the disease.”
Childers said almost 50 boys participated to raise $4,400 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“It was pretty good. They doubled the goal I set for it,” said Childers.
According to Childers, “When we were at the hospital, the doctor sat down with Alex and said ‘diabetes stinks, but if you take care of yourself you won’t have to give up anything you love to do.’ Both Alex and Erich are active in their own care and have done a great job taking care of themselves. They both wear insulin pumps, which give them more freedom to be “normal.”
Childers and Jakubowski said Steiner was instrumental in organizing the event, and they gave kudos to the Summit View coach Charlie Hawkins, Twenhofel coach Drew Clayton, Simon Kenton freshman boys coach Jeff Schraffenberger as well as assistant freshman coach Brad Walker. Walker also has Type 1 diabetes.
They are planning a bigger event for next year.