I will never forget the date of June 11, 2021.
It was the day my body felt like it was failing me and I was not prepared to hear the words my family doctor would tell me within an hour of my arrival at the Allina Health Clinic in Blaine, Minnesota. Words that I had Type 1 Diabetes.
I sat there stunned in silence. Even my doctor didn’t know quite what to make of my situation? He informed me that my Blood Sugar levels were off the charts and had surpassed the highest levels the clinic’s lab could even detect. I would be told my level measured 454 at the time and my A1C tested out at 11.3. My internal organs – pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and kidneys – were on the verge of shutting down and each elevated 2-to-3 times their normal levels.
My doctor left me to myself for a brief while only to return with a special guest. I found it odd he would not sit in his chair that was always the familiar setting for our talks but rather he sat up on the patient’s table. Standing next to him was a woman he would introduce as a Diabetic Care Counselor within the Allina Health system.
When their conversations ended, I then knew this was serious when I was handed multiple prescriptions to fill at my pharmacy right away for a glucose monitoring meter, test strips, lancets, Metformin medication to help lower my blood sugar levels along with a recording book to keep track of my numbers at home. Still feeling overwhelmed by everything, my doctor asked in closing if I had any further questions? I would simply ask if I could call my wife, Wendy, and tell her the news? She promptly answered her cell phone and could tell something was wrong … and then I told her my news.
Wendy never blinked an eye when I got home. She was already thinking through how we were going to adapt, how we were going to transition into this new world of mine? She started researching the disease and quickly purchased several diabetic cookbooks online.
From that day forward, Wendy became my cheerleader, my source of strength, and my meal planner. What put my mind at ease in the quickest way was her decision to eat the same meals as I. We immediately went label shopping together at the grocery stores to find the best foods possible to help keep my blood sugar numbers in check.
And here we are today, embracing my new world, feeling as if fate has brought me to my passion for helping others through charitable fundraising. Throughout my career working in the sports business, I had often orchestrated fundraisers for various charities and family causes, now with Wendy’s blessing, I made the decision to create a nonprofit foundation that will assist people in the diabetes community. I spent hours at night and sometimes weekends researching the needs of people with this disease. I began to seek out a few healthcare professionals that specialized in diabetes care to share in our foundation ideas and my plan was met with excitement and given a big thumbs up! Thus, here we are … the launching of Jim’s Team 4 Diabetes Foundation. After receiving official nonprofit status by the IRS on January 26, 2022, we are ready to dig in and become a helpful teammate for our friends in need living with this disease that has no known cure.
THANK YOU in advance for your personal support and cheers in helping spread the word of our new Foundation!
Since July of 2018, Jim has served as the Corporate & Community Partnerships Director for the St. Cloud (MN) Rox of the Northwoods Summer Collegiate Baseball League. With the club, Jim created and administers the Rox Project S.A.V.E. Foundation that supports youth-related activities in the areas of Sports, Arts, Volunteerism, and Education for over “30” communities based in Central Minnesota.
Before joining the Rox, Jim performed a similar role for the Sioux Falls Storm of the Indoor Pro Football League. During his time in South Dakota, the Storm were chosen the IFL’s Community Team-of-the-Year three times. Jim helped establish records for charitable fundraising, bringing in nearly $500,000 in his four years with the club.
Jim was also instrumental in helping launch the Sioux Falls Stampede franchise in the United States Junior Hockey League back in 1999 and served as the club’s top business leader up through 2012. During his time with the Stampede, the team was twice honored as the USHL’s top organization, and were recognized statewide and nationally for the club’s fundraising and business excellence while helping raise over $500K for local charities.
Jim and Wendy are the proud parents of three daughters: Jaimee (Wausau, WI), Cali (Sioux Falls, SD), and Nikki (Cottage Grove, MN) and are blessed with five lovely grandchildren (Kingsley, Mae, Owen, Sammy, and Charlotte).