Plainfield boy top fundraiser for ADA event
by Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org September 18, 2013 8:37PM
Cooper Christensen, 6, of Plainfield | Supplied photo
Updated: October 20, 2013 7:44AM
If you’ve heard public service announcements for the Step Out walk in Chicago, a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association, you’ve heard 6-year-old Cooper Christensen’s voice.
The Plainfield boy, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 2, recorded all the PSAs for this year’s walk. He earned the honor as the top fundraiser for the Chicago walk, his mother, Valerie Christensen, said.
This is the fourth year that Cooper is participating in the walk, and he has raised about $30,000 total for the organization. As of Monday, Team Cooper had raised more than $7,500 toward its $10,000 goal this year.
Valerie and Ken Christensen discovered Cooper’s diabetes when he “had excessive thirst, he was urinating a lot, losing weight, not eating, agitated,” Valerie said. “He had a funny smell on his breath.”
When a doctor tested his blood sugar, he was admitted to a hospital, she said.
“My life changed within a couple hours. It was very emotional,” Valerie said.
Now, Cooper wears an insulin pump, and his blood sugar is checked up to 15 times a day. Valerie said she wakes up twice a night to check his blood, and if his blood sugar dips she wakes him up to eat something.
“It just never stops,” she said, adding that Cooper’s disease is what inspired her to become a nurse. “We just took the negative and turned it into a positive.”
The Christensens have directed their energy toward fundraising for the American Diabetes Association, which funds research and provides services for diabetics and information about diabetes.
This year Team Cooper is raffling off the bicycle that Bears player Charles Tillman used during training camp this year. It’s autographed by Tillman.
Raffle tickets are $10 each, and the winner will be drawn at the Step Out walk Sept. 29 at Grant Park in Chicago.
Tickets can be purchased through the Team Cooper Step Out website, http://main.diabetes.org/goto/teamcooper2013. Click on the “donate to Cooper” tab, enter information for the donation and type “raffle” and a mailing address or email address in the personal message box.