Michael’s Maniacs joined by 91 Reasons to fight diabetes

Karen Danner
No tater tots here: Michael German and Amariah Bauer helped at a recent fundraiser at First United Methodist Church as residents took advantage of a potato bar, with the proceeds going to the Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Michael German has turned an April Fool’s joke into a happy occasion and a chance to raise funds for the Central Illinois Walk to Cure Diabetes.

On April 1, 2001, as a kindergarten student, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes.

His walk team, Michael’s Maniacs, has participated in the walk for five years, and will be joined this year by a new team, 91 Reasons, coordinated by Chillicothean Amariah Bauer.

Bauer, a member of Venture Crew, knew German from Boy Scout Troop 91, since her father served as Scoutmaster. She often attended Scout meetings.

For the past two years, Bauer has participated in the walk, and said she thoroughly enjoyed her experiences at the family friendly event.

“It’s fun to get to go hang out with everybody,” she said.

As a result, she decided Troop 91 and Venture Crew should form their own team, since three other Scouting families are also affected by diabetes.

Members of her team to date are her sister and brother, Arielle and Jeremiah Bauer; Ben and Nick Hudson; Tyler and Logan Hoffman and their parents, Don and Sue Hoffman; Brad and Linda Briggs; Steve and Debbie Reginald and their children, Josh, Adam, Nathaniel and twins Jamie and Kaylea, who are diabetic.

This year, the Spud Bash at First United Methodist Church raised more than $800 for the 91 Reasons team.

One reason for a cure

German was 5 years old when he was diagnosed. For Paul and Nell German, the diagnosis meant myriad changes in their lives and the life of their son.

During a couple of day’s stay at the hospital, the family learned to give their son insulin shots.

By third grade, German received an insulin pump to better control his diabetes.

The site, which is placed in his upper right leg, must be changed every three days, said Nell.

He is on a continuing glucose sensor, which tests his blood sugar every 10 seconds and transfers it to his insulin pump.

“This helps overnight because if his blood sugar drops, it sounds an alarm,” said Nell. “It’s really helped with that.”

Surprisingly, neither German nor his father hears the alarm. Nell and the family’s cats, however, do.

German still must test his blood sugar and calculate how much insulin he needs.

Besides the site in his thigh, which he has had about six years, he carries the pump in his pocket. Tubing placed just under the skin delivers a continuous dose of insulin.

When he eats, his insulin dosage must be increased.

Now an eighth grader at Chillicothe Junior High, German stays active with band, chorus, speech and the Boy Scouts.

There is little he cannot do, given his disease, as long as he takes care of his body.

This summer, however, the chance to scuba dive put his family in a dilemma.

“It’s not only putting him at risk, but his partner potentially as well,” said Nell. “We wanted to wait until he’s a little older before allowing him to take that risk.”

Donations to either Michael’s Manics or the 91 Reasons team can be made at www.jdrf.org.

The Central Illinois Walk to Cure Diabetes is Sunday at Glen Oak Park.

This year’s goal is $342,000. More than 4,000 people are expected to participate.

Call Meredith Stach, special events coordinator for JDRF, at (319) 393-3850, or mstach@jdrf.org for more information.