Reedy helps raise $3.7 million against diabetes

Two thousand people applaud as she steps onto the stage at McCormick Place in Chicago.  She has practiced it for months and now will deliver her speech. Two standing ovations and a recording breaking $3.7 million later, Caitlin Reedy, junior, shares her experience as the poster child for the thirty-fourth Annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Illinois’s Chance of a Lifetime Gala.

Reedy was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 9 years old. Not knowing what it was, kids were afraid to go near her as if they would catch it like the flu. “After I was diagnosed, we went to the [JDRF Ron Santo] walk about a month or two later,” Reedy said, “Definitely a year after my diagnosis we were totally involved.”

Besides attending the walk every year, Reedy is a youth ambassador for JRDF and has given several speeches to companies to raise fund for research.  She was in Children’s Congress freshman year and went to Washington D.C.  to speak to senators. She has attended the Gala for a few years, but this year was her most involved.

Reedy started working for the event in the summer by fundraising. At the event there was a family interview and video, as well as one of just her. She then had to write and deliver a speech about her diabetic life at the Gala.

The many hours of work were well worth it for Reedy. “Seeing all of the support and after my speech, seeing everyone raise their bid numbers to give money was really powerful and the fact that everyone really wanted to make a difference,” she said. She had seven high school friends in attendance, as well as many family and friends.

“She was really passionate about what she was doing,” Kate Sprengel, junior, said of Caitlin, “[Caitlin] just put everything into it.”

While Sprengel has been friends with Reedy for over five years and has attended the Gala for two years, she still learned a lot from Reedy’s speech. “Hearing Caitlin and her family speak about something that I’ve always known about, but never understood the implications of it to such a degree, and especially not to that degree in someone I’m so close to.”

The implications include, Reedy said, “I test my blood sugars to manage them, give myself insulin, wear a pump, and have to treat highs and lows.” If she has a problem, Reedy misses classes or sacrifices sleepovers. Despite the hardships, Reedy tries to see the best in it, “It has made me a better person. I’m strong because of it, I don’t get as frazzled by things.”

See the Fund a Cure video featuring Reedy here.

Donate to JDRF here.