4/22: 5K Run for Kylee Dunford

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Have you ever known someone who was just too big to describe?

A person whose heart overshadowed all they encountered? A person whose soul shined through their smile and just made you want to be around them? A few of us have known someone just like this. Her name was Christian Noel Akers, and she was all these things, and more. She was the kind of girl you were just glad you knew.

Noel, as she was called, was born in 1991. She was a normal little kid, but she was special, too. She was smarter than average, and was labeled as gifted once she started school. Before that, her mom Donna said, “She knew all the presidents in order and all the capitals of all the states by the time she was in first grade.” While impressive, though, Noel was more than that. So much more.

Her personality was larger than life. Ask anyone who knew her. Everywhere she went, she wore a smile that went on for days, despite whatever she was feeling, because Noel didn’t often feel well. Noel was diabetic.

What does this mean? For those who haven’t lived it, not much. Diabetes, ok. You can control that, no big deal, right? Talk to a mother of a diabetic child, and you will find out otherwise. My nephew is diabetic, and lives away from home now at age 20. His mother said, “The day I dropped him at his dorm and drove away I felt like my heart was in my toes. Since he was diagnosed at age two, I have been able to look at him and determine if something was wrong with him or hear the tone of his voice. I know longer have that luxury. That was we do a lot of checking in during the day. I admit it’s gotten worse since Noel passed. That’s a mother’s worst fear. But it’s even rougher for a mom who has a child with a potentially fatal disease that the reality is that every minute your child could die.” This isn’t just “diabetes.” This is life or death.

Noel struggled for years. Donna said, “She really got sick at age 19. She explained it to me as having spoons. You may have five spoons in one day. Getting out of bed takes one spoon taking a shower takes three. Eating takes one. And then you are exhausted and the day is done.” Noel passed away from complications from diabetes on January 5, 2017.

There is hope. Diabetic alert dogs save lives. It’s that simple. Kylee Dunford is a 13 year old Bland County High School eighth grader. She lives with diabetes. Her mother, Kim, said, “Kylee was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 11.” She has, in the two years since diagnosis, been hospitalized numerous times. She struggles with maintaining a level sugar count during her sleep. Any virus, a stomach virus or a cold, sets it off, as well as other times when it can’t be explained. She wears an insulin pump, which should help, but it’s not enough. The family takes turns getting up in the night to check her sugar, and at times it has bottomed out, because the pump was stopped up. They need help.

Diabetes alert dogs are a miracle. I don’t even understand how, but the dog can smell the patient’s sugar level and alert when it is too high or too low. Noel’s mom said, “If Noel had had a dog, I believe she would be alive today.” Kylee needs one, but they are expensive.

In order to afford Kylee an alert dog, and in Noel’s honor, a 5K is being planned. On April 22, there will be a 5K in Bland starting at 9:00 am. Registration is at the Lutheran Church on Main Street. Fee that day is $25, preregistration is $20. Preregistration can be made through Kylee’s mom Kim Dunford, who can be reached at 304.922.8110. There will also be a Facebook page created for the event. Food will be available at the Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall during the event. Please come out and support such a worthy cause. I can’t think of one more worthy. In the words of Donna Dunn, Noel’s mom, quoting Maya Angelou, “The legacy of a life is the lives you touch.” Noel touched countless lives. Kylee will, too.

We are having a 5K on April 22, 2017 in honor of Noel Akers for the benefit of Kylee Dunford to purchase a diabetic alert dog. We would appreciate the Rocky Gap Ruritan Club donating for this great cause:

$25.00 is Bronze
$50.00 is Silver
$75.00 Gold
$100.00 Platinum
$125.00 your name goes on a t-shirt
For more information call 276-928-1361