By Desiree Williams
At 13, Will Oberndorfer’s life changed when he received a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. He said the disease was nothing he’d ever known.
“No day is the same, that’s for sure. Anything can affect your blood sugar, from the temperature outside to how much you exercise to stress levels to the obvious, the food that you eat,” said Will, a Carmel resident who is now 19.
After the diagnosis, he and his mother, Lisa Oberndorfer, began fundraising for JDRF Indianapolis, a nonprofit funding Type 1 diabetes research, but they felt they could do more.
“I decided that maybe it was time for me to throw my hat in there and do something a little bit more than just your average fundraiser,” Lisa said.
Shortly thereafter, Lisa, Will and his godmother Kim Santucci, co-founder and chief operating officer, incorporated Diabetes Will’s Way. The nonprofit celebrated its five-year anniversary in April and awarded its 112th grant May 20, having served families in 34 of the 50 states.
Diabetes Will’s Way assists those with Type 1 diabetes who are younger than 26 and under-insured, meaning they have insurance but the co-pays or deductibles are so high that daily supplies become unaffordable. Families seeking help can receive one of two grants: an emergency cash grant for daily supplies like insulin test strips, syringes, cartridges for insulin pumps or sensors for a continuous glucose monitor, or a grant to purchase a piece of durable medical equipment like a continuous glucose monitor or insulin pump. Grants average $985 each.
“My concern has always been, ‘Who is taking care of the child in the here and now to make sure that this disease does not decimate their body, so that when that cure comes, they can take advantage of it?’” Lisa said.
Will said working for the organization developed his heart for service and motivated him to study professional writing and communications at Purdue University.
For more, visit diabeteswillsway.com.