Four weeks ago, when they were driving home from the shore, Crystal Klein of Emmaus suggested to her daughter Vicki, 17, that she should do something for kids with diabetes.
Vicki had been a counselor at Camp Red Jacket at Cedar Crest College for a few years. It’s a three-day program for kids 5–12 with diabetes; Vicki had gone for several summers herself. But lately she hadn’t done any kind of volunteer work.
So Vicki, mobilizing her friends and family, has worked almost non-stop for the past month to put together Vicki vs. Diabetes, a fundraiser benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
She’s garnered gift certificates, prizes and cash donations from more than 50 Emmaus-area businesses for the event at at 544 Jubilee Street from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 24.
"I’m amazed at how much the community has given," she says.
Beginning with a scavenger hunt that will take teams all over Emmaus, the fundraiser includes a Chinese auction, Parkour class, children’s games, food and live music.
Vicki was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes when she was 2 years old. She was constantly thirsty and losing weight, symptoms of the disease. Her sister Nicole also has Type 1 diabetes; she was diagnosed when she was in 6th grade.
It’s believed there may be a genetic component to Type 1 diabetes but it hasn’t been proven conclusively.
Vicki uses an insulin pump, which automatically delivers insulin to her system after she programs it with carbs consumed and blood sugar levels. She’s been on the pump since she was 5.
Vicki is really upbeat and optimistic despite her condition. She says high blood sugar levels have caused her to fail a few tests in school – she can’t think straight with high blood sugar – and she lost out in a national rollerskating championship two years in a row.
"Diabetes is an annoyance," Vicki says. "You just push through it and do your best. Some people aren’t as fortunate as I am and haven’t been as successful with it."
There are plenty of positives. She attends PA Cyber Charter School and is in the National Honor Society of PA Cyber Schools. She has been involved with martial arts for eight years and is a second-degree assistant instructor. Her mom Crystal has a face painting business, "Funtastic Faces," and Vicki has won awards at the Face and Body Art International Convention in Orlando.
She’ll be a senior this fall and hopes to switch to the 21st Century Cyber Charter School because they have advanced placement courses. After that, she wants to study to be an art therapist – art is her passion, and she loves psychology and kids.