Family starts fundraising for Sept. 30 diabetes walk
Buffalo Grove Thursday 07.26.12. Tyler Dumrauf (bottom right) of Arlington Heights is shown with his brother Ryan, his mom Jen and father Gary during a kickoff event for the American Diabetes Association's "Step Out" fundraising walk on Thursday, July 26, 2012, at the Arboretum Club in Buffalo Grove. Tyler has type 1 diabetes. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:09AM
Jen Dumrauf expected her family to get plenty of exercise together — this just was not the way she expected it to happen.
Jen is the chief fundraiser of Team Tyler Dumrauf, named for her almost-6-year-old son, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes more than a year ago. The Dumraufs will walk four miles on Sept. 30 as part of the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes; the American Diabetes Association, which organizes the fundraising event, held its first meeting for team captains July 26 at the Arboretum Club.
The Dumrauf squad, which includes neighbors, friends and family, raised $1,100 last year, their first time being involved; Jen said that came easily, and the goal for 2012 is $1,500.
“I thought ‘I can do a lot more than this,’” she said. “It doesn’t take much.”
Step Out is nearing its fourth year at Didier Farms, 16678 Aptakisic Road; the ADA has 135 Step Out events scheduled for Sept. 30, but the Buffalo Grove edition is one of only two in Chicagoland. Anna Van Handel, manager of the Buffalo Grove walk, said they expect to have 1,200 participants and raise around $200,000.
“Didier Farms has been a great partner,” she said. “We don’t pay a fee to have our event there.”
Dumrauf, who was raised in Arlington Heights and now lives near the intersection of Dundee and Buffalo Grove roads, had not heard of the event until she read about it in a national magazine for families of children with diabetes. Although she is grateful to know of the ADA and other organizations working to cure the disease and improve the lives of those who suffer from it, she said she wishes her family was walking just for fun that upcoming fall morning.
“I coud see how people can really drown in how overwhelming this condition is,” she said. “Even when you’re managing it by the book, things can happen.”
No one knows how or why Tyler became diabetic, she said — he is the first in either her or her husband Gary’s family to contract it, and it likely came from a virus attacking his pancreas. Whatever the cause, his condition means his pancreas no longer makes insulin, which causes his blood glucose to rise too high.
“I started noticing signs that, to me, were very obvious,” Dumrauf said. “It was pretty surprising, and we were grief-stricken at first, and it took a lot of time for us to adjust.”
Dietary restrictions, medical equipment and 12 blood checks a day followed — but so did a stunning amount of love and support from the family, friends and neighbors who are now on Team Tyler Dumrauf. While she, Gary and elder son Ryan learned to cope with Tyler’s new condition, they did not have to make a meal for weeks.
But this year, the Step Out mission is more critical than ever, Jen said: elsewhere in her neighborhood, two other children have been diagnosed with diabetes as well. Through an onslaught of fundraising, she said he believed that Ryan, his young neighbors and others with the disease can have something closer to a normal life in the decades to come.
“By the time Tyler’s an adult, it’s going to be so much better for him,” she said. “One day, this won’t stop him.”