An annual Creve Coeur Kids Cruise-In and Car Show on Sunday will aim to offer families a good time while fundraising for OSF’s Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center in Peoria.
The 9th Annual Sweet Kids Cruise-In & Car Show will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, at Rusche Field, at 200 Rusche Ave., Creve Coeur. The field will be filled with vintage cars, motorcycles, trucks and more. The family friendly festivities begin at 11 a.m. with music, concessions, door prizes, trophies, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing. Cruise-in participants can register before and during the event for $10. General admission is free. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center (PDRC) at OSF Health Care Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.
The event was created by Dan Jones and his daughter, Emily Jones Thigpen, as a way to give back to an organization that has become a part of their family. Both Jones and Thigpen have a shared interest in vintage cars. Both also were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). T1D is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. If left untreated, T1D can lead to coma and even death. Jones, 57, of Creve Coeur was diagnosed with T1D when he was 14 years old.
“In the 70s, they didn’t have the resources they have today,” said Jones. “Diabetes was something people didn’t talk about. I stayed in the hospital for a week. These days, kids are diagnosed and there is no hospital time. (PDRC takes) you under their wing right away and (starts) teaching and educating the family on how to deal with it.”
Having dealt with diabetes most of his life, Jones recognized the early warning signs in his daughter.
“The first day we met with the PDRC was heart wrenching,” said Jones. “Knowing what I had gone through, what my nephew had gone through and now what my child will have to go through. It still makes me emotional to think about.”
Thigpen, also of Creve Coeur, was 17 when she received her diagnosis. Now 29, she credits the staff at the PDRC with being her lifeline during a difficult time.
“The PDRC is such an interesting place, because you don’t realize how much of an impact they have until you are in it,” said Thigpen. “I grew up with a dad and cousin who are diabetic, but you don’t realize what kind of education, resources and support you need until you are the one going through it.”
Once a PDRC patient turns 18 years old, they are referred to an adult endocrinologist. T1D patients practice a lifelong self-management plan.
“It never ends. You never get a break. You never get to stop. You have to answer questions in public. . . people stare at you while you check your blood sugar,” said Thigpen. “It’s great for me, because I really like to educate. But for some people who don’t want to be as public as I am, it’s kind of hard to talk about. It’s definitely a process.”
The Jones family hopes to make that process easier for patients and families dealing with T1D. Last year, the Cruise-In & Car Show raised $9,000. This year, the Jones family has set a goal of $10,000. Since 2011, this event has generated over $46,000, allowing the PDRC to offset the costs of patient education, summer camp tuition and research.
For more information about the event, contact Emily Jones Thigpen at email@example.com or visit the event’s Facebook page.