JDNL’s story began in 2009 with roots in Hansen Motorsports. Bill Hansen’s son Todd was a racecar driver who has had T1 diabetes since age 13 months. We learned early that to compete in racing, a driver with T1D must be in complete control of his/her diabetes. While Todd’s race team was responsible for the car being “race ready”, only Todd could make himself race ready. Todd and his family openly helped educate others on diabetes and how the daily rigors of diabetes management took time, patience and persistence.
There were questions such as “does the league know?” and “do competitors know?” In an information-laden world, it remains amazing how many misperceptions exist about diabetes. “Don’t you just take a shot each day and you’re fine?” “Don’t you get enough exercise?” “You must eat too much sugar!” The list goes on.
Juvenile Diabetes No Limits Foundation (JDNL) started as Speed the Cure Foundation (STC) with a mission that might have seemed vague to some. We wanted to avoid being viewed as ‘another organization raising money for research’. We believe (then and now) there are wonderful organizations that both raise money for and sponsor medical research. However, the ‘diabetes industry’ let us know the driving-and-diabetes concerns families have when their teen with diabetes reaches driving age. As significant as the concern is, it’s not something being proactively addressed. We knew we could.
How could we not address driving and diabetes? The name Speed the Cure changed to Juvenile Diabetes No Limits in early 2010. It was a young man with T1 diabetes, Will Schindler, who at the age of about 14 years (and active in sports), told his mom “I’ll work hard to manage my diabetes — but won’t let it limit my opportunities to participate in sports”. It all fell into place. JDNL’s new mission and goal was repositioned to help young people realize they can manage their diabetes and… achieve their dreams.
Finally, there is the inspiration of the Hooten family in Chicago — a family with five — four of which have T1 diabetes. They were an active family participating in the world of motorsports then and continues to do so today. This family has dealt with every “up and down” imaginable with a household of diabetes. They have been active in fundraising and instrumental in helping JDNL formulate Check B4U Drive. Then there’s Mark Lippe (also from Chicago), who as a Type 1 experienced the severity and consequences of driving with a low blood sugar level.
The young Hooten family members have grown up, continue to race and are all “Achieving their Dreams” in life. Mark continues to support diabetes education to help people be prepared to be safe when they drive.
We welcome your support for Check B4U Drive and look forward to meeting you. Please consider helping us bring Check B4U Drive to your city.
p.s. Today, Bill is only here in spirit as he recently passed away. Todd continues to race for his enjoyment. We miss Bill, but his inspiration continues to be present in our Foundation. And we honor the many people who lived outstanding lives with T1D for which we’ve received donations in their honor and memory.