A wine and craft beer tasting, silent auction, barbecue, raffles, ATV ride and street dance will all be a part of the 4th Annual Because of Brandon fund raiser on Saturday, July 27 at the Crosby Bar & Grill. The money raised benefits Cuyuna Regional Medical Center's Diabetes Education Departement and is used to fund youth diabetes camps, patient travel expenses and educational events.
The event was established in memory of Brandon Houge, a young man from Ironton who unexpectedly passed away from complications of diabetes. “My son, Brandon, was only 13 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” said event Chair Doug Houge. “Despite excellent care and his best efforts, complications arose and Brandon passed away in December 2015 at the age of 27. We miss him every day and still cry over losing him. But, we are determined to help others avoid the same loss. Please help us honor his memory by supporting this fun event.”
The main raffle is for a new, 2018 Textron Alterra 700 ATV with a winch and plow ($7,999 value), Ruttger’s weekend with meals and golf ($1,150 value), .22 LR Barracuda gun donated by Magnum Research ($840 value), $150, and $50. Tickets are $10 each and are available at CRMC’s Cuyuna Lakes Pharmacy, Baxter, Breezy Point and Longville clinics; the Crosby Bar & Grill; Deerwood Bank, Crosslake Vet and Nisswa Chamber.
Since Because of Brandon started, more than $140,000 has been raised. Most of the funds provide scholarships for youth to attend Camp Needlepoint, a week-long, summer outdoor camp on the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisc., for youngsters with diabetes. The camp lets children have a great time participating in traditional activities while connecting with others with diabetes. Healthcare professionals oversee daily diabetes care and help campers learn to manage and live successfully with their disease. Scholarship recipients have been from Crosby, Aitkin, Pequot Lakes and Longville.
“When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes going to summer camp was no longer an option because of the medical needs I now had,” said 14-year-old scholarship recipient Ethan Weik of Pequot Lakes, an advocate who also this year testified before Congress about the high cost of insulin. “Camp Needlepoint allowed me to go to summer camp. At camp, I was no longer the only kid with Type 1 and for one week, I felt normal.”
In Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin, said CRMC Diabetes Educator Heather Erickson. Insulin is a hormone that is required to move sugar from the blood stream into cells for energy. If blood sugars remain too high for too long, many serious, long-term health complications can occur. So, it is very important to identify and treat accordingly. Type 1 Diabetes strikes children suddenly and injectable insulin is required at the onset of the disease. Erickson explained that there is nothing people can do to prevent Type 1 Diabetes. It is not caused by diet or lifestyle; oftentimes, it is not known what caused the pancreas to stop producing insulin. This disease requires management every day.
“Because of Brandon sends kids with Type 1 diabetes to summer camp where they can spend a week with other kids who are learning to live with this disease,” said Erickson. “That network of friends is very important to develop for support. The Because of Brandon team is excited to provide this opportunity to kids in our area living with Type 1 diabetes.”