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home : news : news August 17, 2017

2/25/2013 12:20:00 PM
A cause and an effect
For the past eight years, local volunteers have raised more than $300,000 for Type1-Diabetes

By David Richards

When their daughter was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes, Tom and Wendy O'Leary wanted to make a difference.

Eight years later, they've raised more than $300,000 for diabetes research through their annual "Roll & Stroll" walk in Rochester.

"She's an example of how you just keep moving forward," Tom O'Leary said, of his daughter Megan, now 17.

The O'Learys live in Byron, and Tom is the head cross country coach and assistant track coach at Byron High School.

The efforts of Tom and his wife, in addition to dozens of volunteers and other local families who have children with diabetes as well, have paid off in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

JDRF has a three-tier mission, which includes cure the disease, prevent the disease and help people manage the disease.

The third one especially rings true for Megan O'Leary, whose days go by with the assistance of an insulin pump.

Based on what activity she's doing and how many carbohydrates she's taking in, she then knows how much insulin needs to be pumped into her body.

"She manages it very well," Tom O'Leary said. "She has to be a dietician and a mathematician to do it."

Megan O'Leary was just named to all-state in dance, she runs cross country, plays the guitar and sings.

In preparation for this year's Roll & Stroll, set for May 19, a pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held at the Byron Bear's Den on March 2 from 7:30 to 10: 30 a.m. Cost is $7 per person, with a $25 maximum per family.

This will be the fourth year for the pancake feed, which also includes sausage and a beverage, with the proceeds going entirely to JDRF.

In 2012, the entire fundraising effort collected $75,000.

"This year, we're shooting for $100,000," Tom O'Leary said.

In addition, several area runners will log more than 14 miles to get to the pancake feed and run to the event from Rochester, with a pair of water stops along the way.

Also, Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist, Laura Mesenburg, of Byron, will be meeting and greeting folks and will have her butterhead on display. Tom O'Leary said she's even donating a portion of it to the breakfast.

For more information on the pancake breakfast or the Roll & Stroll, visit

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