MARQUETTE COUNTY — Diabetes type 1 & 2 is a disease that affects many people in the United States but also here in the Upper Peninsula.
Although it is difficult to live with, one young girl is trying to make a difference in her community. Julie Johnson was diagnosed with diabetes just over 8 years ago, and since then, she has always looked for ways to help others.
Julie even started a penny wars fundraising for Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network. The fundraising at her school, North Star Academy, ended up taking off and reaching $467.
“It was amazing and with the penny wars, it had started out just in my class or the middle school doing it,” explained Julie Johnson. “But when my teacher brought it up to the principal it then became a school wide event.”
After giving that money to the outreach network, the organization gave it right back to her to use for the Swim Teal Lake fundraising event.
“When i went to accept the check for the penny war i thought it would be a fantastic way for the school to be involved even more,” said Kristen Cambensy, Race Director for the Teal Lake Swim. “So we decided to use the money as her sponsorship fee for the Swim Teal Lake and she was already planning on doing the Short and Sweet race.”
With her swim now sponsored, Julie is looking to get the word out to get more of the community involved with this event. Even Julie’s mom is just amazed that her daughter has this kind of initiative and drive to help others and even at such a young age.
“From where she has come from it is really heartwarming,” said Jennifer Johnson. “She thinks about others a lot of the time and she wears her heart out on her sleeve. She also has a lot against her medically, physically, and emotionally. But she is always thinking about others and to me as a mom… I cry when I watch her do things because I know where she came from and how hard it is for her to be around people. It just heartwarming to know that I helped raise a kid that is turning out to be really awesome.”