Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Godspeed, Jesse - Thank You

On February 3, 2010 - The amazing 13 year old Jesse Alswager passed away because of diabetes. Jesse had been a type 1 diabetic for 10 of those 13 years and because of that, Jesse saved me.

Jesse (in the "Running on Insulin" T shirt) is Michelle Alswager's son and Michelle Alswager is the force that dreamed up the Triabetes project and then saw it and the documentary through to its completion. Michelle is why we went to Madison, WI to run Ironman. She was in a coffee shop in Madison talking with someone about Ironman (which she had done the previous year) and she said "You know what would be cool? To get 10 Diabetics to do Ironman and film it." Yes, of course it would be cool, but how many people would be able to take that idea and make it happen? Just one, I think. Michelle has been a fundraising force in the diabetes world for 10 years. I did a quick search and found where on one of her first walk a thons, she raised $22,000.... like I said she is a force. A quick search will pull up events in Jesse's life like "7 year old holds diabetic cookbook signing - 'Cooking Up a Cure" or you can see a couple of years ago, the Governor of WI mentioned Jesse in his State of the State Address for the Alswager's work on Stem Cell research with JDRF.

Here is Michelle doing what she has done since I met her - which is simply whatever it takes to get my butt up the hill.

Michelle's motto was always "Cure Jesse" and because of that, I got to be a part of Triabetes and was given a gift of life. I was taught that this disease sucks and it takes cheap shots but that it WILL BE BEATEN. My health is better than it has ever been thanks to what I learned through Triabetes and none of that would have happened without Jesse. So Jesse, Thank you. I will never forget you. My focus has been resharpened and the Mantra I will use is "Curejesse". Godspeed.

There has been a fund set up - which is accessible though paypal at the Caringbridge link below:

Jesse Alswager Memorial Fund
c/o UW Credit Union
PO Box 44963
Madison, WI 53744-4963

Cards can be mailed to:
Michelle Alswager
3 Leland Circle
Madison, WI 53711

For more information:
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessealswager/

Here is another article on Jesse

On a side note - an idea has been bouncing around in my head, Heather's head, and somehow (probably because she is tapped into energy that needs no wires) in Shelly's (HCUCC) head. It was simply an idea: "How about doing to ride across the country for diabetes?" I have noticed that there is a US bike route that goes through my town - Bike Route 76. Turns out it goes from the coast of VA to the Coast of Oregon and was intended to be like Route 66 - small town scenic. My original thought was to make this a family trip - one person can ride one day while the other drives the kids to the next campground - then switch. Now my thought is that we ride it for Jesse. If Michelle and Jesse have taught me anything, its that ideas can fly.