Students organize fundraisers for juvenile diabetes researchBy Emily Beckett Published 4:37pm Monday, October 7, 2013
Kailee Williams and Chloe Barron have been friends since they met at church more than a year ago, and they share numerous similarities in their lives.
Along with attending the same church, Williams and Barron are both 10 years old, in the fifth grade at Clanton Intermediate School and live in Chilton County.
But another similarity—one perhaps many of their classmates didn’t know about until this year—binds them together more than anything else.
Williams and Barron have Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which each girl’s pancreas stopped producing insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood.
They rely on insulin pumps and daily injections to monitor and manage their blood sugar.
This year, Williams and Barron spearheaded fundraising efforts at their school and collected $759 for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
With more donations they raised with their team around the community, Williams and Barron were able to donate about $2,500 to JDRF.
They also participated in JDRF’s Birmingham 2013 Walk to Cure Diabetes on Sept. 29 at Veterans Park near Spain Park High School in Birmingham.
“The girls did the JDRF walk in 2012 as well, but last year, they were able to bag groceries for donations, which helped greatly in their fundraising efforts,” said Kimberly Williams, Kailee Williams’ mother. “They had lined up two days to bag groceries again this summer, but unfortunately were told they could not do that again by the store’s corporate office. This is when we reached out to Mr. [David] Seale, principal at Clanton Intermediate School, to see if he would be willing to let them do some fundraisers at their school.”
Seale met with the girls the second week of school to brainstorm fundraising ideas, and the three decided a Hat Day for students and a Jeans Day for teachers during September would be easy and fun ways for the school to get involved.
For Hat Day, students who donated $1 to JDRF were allowed to wear hats at school.
For Jeans Day, teachers who donated $10 to JDRF were allowed to wear jeans to school for a week.
“It was a team effort,” Kailee Williams said of the fundraisers. “Here in school, if you give kids something that they aren’t allowed to do, they go crazy about it.”
Since Barron’s mother, Rebecca Barron, is a teacher at Chilton County High School, she and many of her colleagues participated in Jeans Day to benefit JDRF.
“To me, anytime students feel moved to initiate progress, to initiate a drive to help others, I want to support that,” Seale said. “It really helps me see that these two are going to be community leaders because they are taking the initiative to help others at a young age.”
Seale was among Williams’ and Barron’s supporters that attended this year’s JDRF walk Sept. 29.
Barron was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes six years ago, when she was 4 years old.
Ironically, Williams was diagnosed at age 9 on March 12 last year, five years to the day after Barron was diagnosed.
“While Kailee was in the hospital, I reached out to Chloe’s family and the story goes from there,” Kimberly Williams said. “They were already great friends, but them living with diabetes together has only strengthened their friendship.”
Kailee Williams and Barron said they hope to continue to raise money for JDRF annually to fund research to find a cure for diabetes.
“I think it is wonderful that these girls are willing to get out there and work so hard to help raise money to find a cure for this disease that they live with every single day,” Kimberly Williams said. “I hope it also brings awareness to this disease.”
Anyone interested in donating to Kailee Williams’ and Chloe Barron’s “No Sugar No Spice Just Everything Nice” team for JDRF may send donations to: Alabama Chapter, 600 Beacon Parkway West, Suite 860, Birmingham, AL 35209.