A canine D.A.D. who’s just another member of the family

February 24, 2015

Emilia Kettman, 7, has a new tool to help her manage her diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes — Reggie.

Reggie, a 1 ½-year-old black Labrador, is a diabetic alert dog in training to scent when Emilia’s blood sugar levels are too far above or below the norm. Emilia’s parents Julie and John said it was important to acquaint her with a D.A.D. as soon as possible.

By Greg Farrar Riverdog trainer Sarah Kech (left) guides Reggie, a diabetic alert dog, through a sniff test of Emilia Kettman, 7. Reggie has been trained to key off the scent of Kettman’s low blood sugar, which is on a swab, inside a canister in her sock.

By Greg Farrar
Riverdog trainer Sarah Kech (left) guides Reggie, a diabetic alert dog, through a sniff test of Emilia Kettman, 7. Reggie has been trained to key off the scent of Kettman’s low blood sugar, which is on a swab, inside a canister in her sock.

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Freshman duo carries on legacy of fallen teammate

September 11, 2012

Jake Fritz, Kevin Powers play in memory of Tyler Lucas

High school teammates Jake Fritz and Kevin Powers are making an impact as teammates at Dominican and are carrying on the memory of high school teammate Tyler Lucas, who died in an automobile accident. Contributed by Dominican University of California

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — When Jake Fritz and Kevin Powers, high school teammates and longtime friends, led a freshmen lacrosse class to Dominican University of California last academic year, they came with high expectations.

They aimed to play. They aimed to score. They aimed to please.

“We knew that there were no seniors graduating (from last year’s team) and we knew they had a few games where they were one or two goals short,” Powers said. “We knew with the contribution of our freshmen class we would be able to win some of those games.”

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Lake Sammamish Triathlon is set for Aug. 27

August 16, 2011

The local triathlon season comes to an end Aug. 27 with the annual Lake Sammamish Triathlon at Lake Sammamish State Park.

The event consists of a 400-meter swim, a 14-mile bike ride and a 3.4-mile run.

Action starts at 7 a.m.

Categories include the standard age group divisions as well as Clydesdale, Athena, relays and junior age groups.

A portion of the registration fees go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Register at www.signmeup.com/73028. Learn more at www.buduracing.com or call 206-920-3983.

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Washington Stealth lacrosse team honors Issaquah teenager

February 11, 2011

NEW — 7 p.m. Feb. 11, 2011

On Saturday, the Washington lacrosse community will honor Tyler Lucas, an Issaquah teenager who died in a car accident on Interstate 405 on Feb. 1.

Lucas, an all-star defenseman respected by athletes and coaches alike, continued to play lacrosse even after doctors diagnosed him with diabetes.

Lacrosse players in the Washington Stealth game against the Edmonton Rush at the Comcast Arena in Everett can remember Lucus by purchasing decals featuring his initials and jersey number.

The 1-inch yellow and purple decals cost $50 for 25. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. By Wednesday, more than 35 teams had ordered decals, raising more than $5,000 for the foundation.

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Community gathers to honor Issaquah teenager killed in car crash

February 3, 2011

Friends of Tyler Lucas comfort one another during a candelight vigil at Issaquah High School on Wednesday night. By Laura Geggel

NEW — 1 p.m. Feb. 3, 2011

Friends and family gathered at Issaquah High School on Wednesday night to honor and celebrate the life of Tyler Lucas, an 18-year-old lacrosse player who died in a car accident on Interstate 405 on Tuesday.

More than 100 of his peers and lacrosse coaches attended, holding candles that lit up the dark, clear night as they remembered a teammate who inspired them to play with a passionate verve.

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Athletes prepare for Lake Sammamish Triathlon Aug. 28

August 24, 2010

While some athletes will head north for the rigorous Subaru Ironman Canada race in Penticton, British Columbia, on Aug. 29, many local triathletes will be wrapping up their season Aug. 28 at the Lake Sammamish Triathlon.

The Lake Sammamish Triathlon, at Lake Sammamish State Park, is the final local triathlon of the year. The event begins at 7 a.m. As of Aug. 23, registration for the race was still open. Sign up for the triathlon at www.signmeup.com/67401 or www.buduracing.com. Get more information by calling 206-920-3983.

The course consists of a 400-meter swim, a 14-mile bike ride, and a 3.1-mile run through the park along Issaquah Creek.

The Lake Sammamish Triathlon has the standard age group categories as other triathlons, including Clydesdale (men 200 pounds or heavier), Athena (women 150 pounds or heavier), junior age groups, friends and family, and relay teams. The friends and family category is a noncompetitive category.

All finishers will receive a medal.

A portion of the registration fees goes to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

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Ordinary athlete takes on extraordinary challenge for diabetes

July 6, 2010

Ernie Bakker

“I am just an ordinary athlete doing an extraordinary event,” Ernie Bakker said.

On July 11, the 63-year-old Issaquah resident will begin a 3,484-mile bike ride, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The 29-day trip will take him across the United States, from Washington to Virginia.

“Some people would say I am crazy,” he said. “But I can live with that.”

Bakker is motivated by a very personal cause. His 12-year-old granddaughter, Casey Jacobsen, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 4.

The disease affects every aspect of her life. On a daily basis, she must strictly track her carbohydrates and calorie intake, monitor her blood pressure and pump her body with insulin.

“It’s a different life for a kid,” he said. “It is an expensive disease that doesn’t go away.”

Despite her diabetes, Casey remains busy and active. She loves to play guitar, swim and play soccer.

“She does things that any ordinary 12-year-old does,” Bakker said. “She’s just a good kid.”

Bakker’s goal is to raise $20,000 in donations for the foundation.

“This ride is really not about me,” he said. “It’s about getting the word out about juvenile diabetes. It happens to kids like Casey who are healthy. For no reason, it just hits them. We want to find a cure.”

His long journey will start in Everett. Each day, he will average 115 miles and a 4,050-foot climb until Aug. 9, when he reaches Williamsburg, Va. His trek will take him through the scenic country roads of 11 states, including Montana, South Dakota, Illinois and West Virginia. Read more

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Sammamish lacrosse players manage diabetes during games

June 22, 2010

Issaquah Youth Lacrosse Nick Mauzy (55) plays in a lacrosse match this year at Skyline Stadium against Mukilteo. Mauzy, who has diabetes, monitors his blood sugar level during the course of a typical match. By Charles Mauzy

Sammamish resident Nick Mauzy, 14, has lived with diabetes since he was 5. Just like many Sammamish youths, he grew up playing sports and has managed to keep the disease in check. He is home-schooled, but plays for the Skyline High School club lacrosse team and in the Issaquah Youth Lacrosse League post-season tournaments.

Although he’s among a miniscule amount of young people with type 1 diabetes, Nick isn’t alone in local youth sports. He is among a handful of youth lacrosse players who balance the challenges of diabetes with playing a contact sport.

“Most people think of it as kind of a disability, something to prohibit you,” Nick said. “It really isn’t. You never back down, and get into what a normal person would do.”

Approximately 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, about 7.8 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association. Only 0.22 percent (186,300 people) of the population 20 and younger have diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. With type II, the body doesn’t use insulin properly. About 5 percent to 10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, according to the association. Read more

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Diabetic takes on triathlons, inspires community

February 16, 2010

Bobby Heyer (right) races the cycling portion of an Ironman race team ride with one of his Team Type 1 teammates, Matt Vogel. Contributed

Bobby Heyer, a four-time Ironman-finisher and avid triathlete, is training to complete his fifth Ironman in Brazil in April. But apart from the physical task of finishing five Ironman triathlons, Heyer continually fights to overcome a separate challenge of its own: He is a type 1 diabetic.

Heyer, an Issaquah resident and member of the Team Type 1 triathlon team, kicked off two separate American Diabetes Association walks in October. The first was in Seattle’s Seward Park, followed by one in Tacoma. His message to diabetics was simple: “You’re never going to be perfect, but there’s no reason you can’t do anything that anybody else is doing.”

Type 1 diabetes is a form of the disease in which the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that moves blood sugar from the bloodstream into blood cells, causing the body to attack itself; it differs from Type 2 diabetes, in which insulin in the body is less efficient at moving sugar out of the blood cells, resulting in high blood sugar.

Heyer was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 15. He was a freshman in high school who at the time was actively involved in football, wrestling, skiing and track. Although he considers himself unique in that he already had such a broad athletic background, he held on to one philosophy that kept him from slowing down:

“At some point, you just have to own it.”

Referring to his condition, Heyer said he never truly “owned it” until his freshman year in college, when he decided that taking care of his body was the most important thing to focus on.

It was not too long after college that Heyer got into his favorite sport, cycling, as he joined a couple friends in completing the STP, a 200-mile bike tour from Seattle to Portland, Ore., in one day.

“That was when I truly got into endurance sports,” he said.

And after nine years, he has accomplished physical tasks that very few, let alone those with Type 1 diabetes, could dream of accomplishing. And as he has continued his pursuit of personal physical accomplishment, his passion for diabetes awareness has spread to the community.

Heyer is involved with Team Type 1, a cycling and triathlon team designed to raise awareness about people living with diabetes. The team was founded by friends and fellow diagnosed Type 1 diabetics Joe Eldridge and Phil Southerland.

Heyer got involved with the team in 2005, when he raced with Eldridge and Southerland in the Race Across America, a team-cycling race from Oceanside, Calif., to Atlantic City, N.J.

“I didn’t think we’d be that good, but we ended up taking first in our division and second overall, and set a record,” Heyer said.

The three of them, and eight other cyclists, came back to take first overall in the RAAM that next year. Heyer noted that by that point he felt as though Team Type 1 was really beginning to get its message about diabetes out to the community.

It seemed at the ADA Walk as though the message Heyer and Team Type 1 are preaching has continued to spread, at least to Gary Pruitt, a representative of Univar, one of the ADA Walk’s corporate sponsors.

“You (the community) are the real heroes for putting this all together. Every step brings ADA closer to a cure for diabetes,” Pruitt said in a speech right before the event began.

Nearing age 45, Heyer is still planning on deepening his career as a triathlete. His ultimate goal is to qualify for the Kona-Ironman-World-Championship in Hawaii; his next chance will be at the Ironman in Brazil next year.

“It certainly won’t define who I am, but I think I can do it,” he said.

Heyer mentioned that the Brazil event will be unaffiliated with Team Type 1, but he plans to continue to live his life with the goal of spreading community awareness as well as inspiring other diabetics.

“You don’t have to do an Ironman,” he said. “Just take care of yourself and live your best life.”

Jeff Lehman is a former student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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