The Loyola girls basketball team is practicing what the school preaches.
Consistent with the mission of serving others, the Ramblers decided to use their platform to raise money and awareness for a cause close to the program.
“We wanted to make this season about more than basketball,” senior Celia Satter said.
First conceived last December at the Naples Holiday Shootout in Naples, Florida, the Ramblers chose to concentrate their efforts on Type 1 diabetes. During the trip, the players discovered one the team’s biggest fans, 6-year-old Jamie Stonequist, has the disease. Diagnosed at 14 months old, he is the son of Dennis Stonequist, Loyola’s executive vice president and a 1990 graduate of the school.
“The family came to Florida to watch us play, and we found out how much Jamie loved our team,” Satter said. “We later learned about his conditions and challenges he faces every day. Before this season, we came together and agreed that Type 1 diabetes would be the focus of our fundraiser.”
Type 1 diabetes is genetic and much less common than Type 2. Unlike Type 2, it’s not preventable. Managing Jamie’s condition is a never-ending endeavor, according to his father.
“We are always monitoring his condition,” Dennis said. “It doesn’t take a break.”
To raise money, the Ramblers are soliciting donations at every home game and holding bake sales at the school. At the team’s Jan. 26 home game , Loyola will make its most public push with help from St. Ignatius.
The Ramblers play Providence Catholic, while the Wolfpack play De La Salle at Loyola.
All proceeds go to fund the American Diabetes Association’s Camp Confidence, a program designed to connect children with Type I diabetes. Jamie attended the camp for the first time last year. According to his father, it was a positive experience.
“For the first time, he was part of the majority,” said Dennis, whose son went to Camp Confidence in Des Plaines. “To be around other kids who have the same problems and challenges was big for him. He had a great time.”
According to Satter, the team already has surpassed its financial goals.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “Definitely more than we expected.”
Before the start of the season, Dennis and Jamie, a student at St. Francis Xavier in Wilmette, spoke to the players and their parents to educate them on the disease and thank them for adopting Type 1 diabetes as their cause.
“They approached me in the fall to tell me about their plan,” Dennis said. “My kids love going to the games and are big fans of the team. I applaud the girls, and what they’ve done. We are blessed to be in the community we are in.”
Not all kids afflicted with Type 1 diabetes are fortunate enough to have the resources to take care of the disease, said Ann Satter, Celia’s mother. That’s why it’s important to shine a spotlight on it, according to Ann.
“Making people aware is a big step,” she said. “There’s so much involved to ensure these kids are live a healthy lifestyle.”
Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker supported his players from the outset.
“Service is an important element of the Loyola experience, and I’m proud of what they’ve done,” he said.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola