For John (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

This is why I'm part of the American Diabetes Association's "Step Out: Walk To Fight Diabetes"


John is 15 years old and all he wants to do is serve all of us.  He grew up in Colorado Springs.  He can see the Air Force Academy from his house and for as long has he's been aware of the concept of going to college...that's where he's wanted to go.  Here he is a few years ago with his sister Julie and their father Russ.


John loves anything and everything to do with the military.  A few years ago he even decided he wanted to go to a military school.  He left his family behind at the age of 13 (his choice) to head East and make it happen.  He's a high school sophomore now at the Missouri Military Academy.  He's thriving. He's learning all about the military and how to be a top performer in a military-based environment.  He ended last year as the 2nd top cadet in his class.  Here he is on a recent trip with Julie and their mother Cindy.


It's pretty clear that John would be a good fit at the AFA.  He's excelling academically in High School and he's right in step with the rigid discipline of a 24/7 military setting.  Here he is in a recent photo at school.

As much as he wants to go to the Air Force Academy and serve our nation as an Air Force officer, and as much as he could probably do very well with that's probably not going to happen. 

John has diabetes. 

He was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 9.  He can do just about anything...he's part of a very competitive fitness team at school called the Raiders..and he does everything he's required to do for spite of his diabetes.

The Service Academies don't accept diabetics without a hard-to-get medical waiver.

John will find something productive to do with his life even if he can't serve his country.  He's a smart kid and he does well with other people.  A cure though, or some amazing new treatment, might change the way the academies handle the situation, might change John's life.  The ADA uses money they raise to try to find that.  Step Out To Fight Diabetes is this Saturday, November 6th at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

I know a lot about this family and I care a lot about John because he happens to be my nephew.  His mother Cindy is my sister.  I also happen to know that John and Julie's father Russ was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at about the age of 9, about the same age John was when he was diagnosed.

Last November, not quite a year ago...John and Julie's father Russ died.  It was from a severe diabetic low.  Russ was 49.

That's why I'm encouraging everyone to be part of this walk if you can, or to donate if you can.  For Russ, and for Julie and especially for John.

Here's a link to the KKTV team page where you can sign up to walk with us or where you can click on a any team member to donate on line.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward




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