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Lakeville teen starts diabetes support site

Diabetes patient Lily Jeswald, 13

Diabetes patient Lily Jeswald, 13

HELPING TEENS FACE DIABETES: Lily Jeswald  is a 13-year-old Lake­ville girl with big dreams. For one thing, she wants to be a professional singer, and is taking steps to get there. More immediately, she wants to give a forum to other young people with diabetes, which she was diagnosed with at the age of 4.  

She started a Facebook page, Teens Talk to Teens About Diabetes, to give children ages 13 to 18 a place to share their thoughts on their fight against the disease.

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“At my school, only a couple of other kids have diabetes, and kids can be shy about talking about it,” said Lily, a student at Freetown-Lakeville Middle School. “I wanted to start the page and meet other kids with diabetes and talk to them about it. I have about 70 likes so far, and want to get more.”

She’s chatted online with other teens, as well as some adults who are trying to encourage their children to talk about diabetes, Lily said. She also poses some light-hearted questions, she said, such as “What’s your favorite food to eat when your blood-glucose level is low?”

Lily’s mother, Kim Jeswald, supports the effort and monitors the Facebook page, which can be seen at www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Teens-Talk-to-Teens-About-Diabetes/ 488576144506689?fref=ts.  

“It’s a great place for kids to meet other kids, but we want to say it’s not a place for medical advice,” Jeswald said. “She posts teenage things, and also reposts things like articles about diabetes’’ from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.  

That’s where the youngster goes for treatment every few months to ensure she’s taking proper care of herself, and to get her insulin pump adjusted when necessary. And it’s a place she has supported with proceeds from an annual yard sale at her home, with 50 percent going to research at Joslin, and the other 50 percent helping to pay for her costs of music, dance and theater lessons, and entry into pageants, which she’s been doing for the last few years.

Lily is enrolled at the Capachione School of the Performing Arts in East Bridgewater, and has taken pageant lessons at the Burt Wood School of Performing Arts in Middleborough. She’s done many shows in her young theatrical career; in April, she will play the lead female character, Marian, in her middle school’s production of “The Music Man Jr.,” a version of the Broadway classic adapted for younger performers.  

Local residents may recognize her from being at the Lakeville Post Office so much, shipping packages of donated items that she sells on eBay to raise money for diabetes research.

And her picture is also on the cover of a recent flier for Joslin’s High Hopes Fund that was distributed nationwide, her mother said.

Lily is very open and willing to talk to anyone about her disease, Jeswald said, “because she has it, she has to deal with it, and being open and hopefully educating people helps her, it gives her more confidence.”

The girl has wanted a cure for the disease ever since she first found out she has it, she said.

“I don’t want other people to have diabetes,” Lily said, “and go through the challenges I have to go through.”

TEACHING ABROAD: Richard Bradford Durham, a 2007 graduate of Braintree High School, is teaching computer technology in Mozambique’s northern province of Niassa, after completing Peace Corps training.

Out of 68 Peace Corps volunteers in his unit, Durham was chosen to give a speech on the volunteers’ behalf during their swearing-in ceremony at the US Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique. He will teach in the country for two years.

PORTRAIT OF HONOR: A photograph of Quincy resident Thomas Zukauskas  now hangs in the Quincy headquarters of Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts, where he served for 33 years, the last 20 as chief executive officer, until his recent retirement.

During his tenure, officials said, the nonprofit grew from a local agency serving 30 children with cerebral palsy into a statewide organization with a $260 million annual budget serving 21,000 people with all types of disabilities.

SUCCESSFUL WALK: Norwell-based Jack Conway Real Estate Co. donated $7,366 to the Massachusetts and New Hampshire chapter of the

Conway Director of Relocation Dawn Stevens (left) and CFO Bryan Keaney present Shannah Paddock of the Alzheimer’s Association a check from the company’s participation in the South Shore Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Conway Director of Relocation Dawn Stevens (left) and CFO Bryan Keaney present Shannah Paddock of the Alzheimer’s Association a check from the company’s participation in the South Shore Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Association, matching money raised by Conway agents taking part in the sixth annual South Shore Walk to End Alz­heimer’s in Plymouth last fall.

The company’s director of relocation, Dawn Stevens, was the team captain for the walk. She and chief financial officer Bryan Keany presented the check to Shannah Paddock, regional development coordinator for the local chapter.

Other members of the Conway organization joining the fund-raiser were company CEO Carol BulmanHeather FernaldJanet Pistone,  Sue Mulcare,  Jean Sweeney,  Peggy Lovalo,  Sue Sindoni,  Pat Fahy,  Deborah Campbell,  Kristen Morse,  Lou Cabana,  Debbie Powers,  Kristin Bedard,  Patti Hall, and Sally Cannon

The South Shore Walk racked up a total of $280,000 for Alzheimer’s research.  

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Weymouth resident Jennifer Swanson  was named an account representative for Stephco Cleaning & Restoration in Holbrook. She had worked for Burger King for several years, working her way up to a management position.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at kandarian@ globe.com.
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