Laura Kuper, American Diabetes Association, Northbrook

“I want to teach people about my disease,” Jared Kuper, 10, said to his mom. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes only after he went into a diabetic coma.


Jared, supported by his mom, has become an advocate for children with diabetes locally and beyond. “It’s not me, it’s my son,” Laura says, because Jared is the driving force behind the family’s numerous efforts to educate people about diabetes.

With his mom’s help, Jared has raised more than $50,000 for juvenile diabetes research by participating in numerous walks and fundraisers—some of which he organized himself with help from his sisters. His goal is to speak to as many people as possible, so he has appeared at countless fundraisers and school events, showing his insulin pump and testing his blood sugar in public.

In 2010, Jared was named a Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association for Illinois and Northern Indiana. He called all the representatives in the Illinois House and Senate on behalf of The Care of Students with Diabetes Act, which became law in 2010, giving children with diabetes equally opportunities and access in school, like being able to test their blood sugar in class.

Jared and Laura also provide support to families who are dealing with a new diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. “Going home with a new diabetic is the scariest thing you’ll ever do,” Laura says. This spring they are starting support groups, and Laura regularly offers her number to parents dealing with a new diagnosis.

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“He inspires me,” Laura says of Jared. “He never once cried, even when he had to get six or seven shots a day. He has to test his blood sugar 17 times a day, and he never complains.”

Find out how to bring Jared to your local school at

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