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Bell-Brigade charges forward in fundraising

Maggie Bell, diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of four, plays with brothers Patrick and Thomas. The May 2 Happy Hour for JDRF is being held in Maggie’s honor at Doc Sullivans. (Photo courtesy of Bell Family).

BY: Catherine Miller | April 22, 2014

SOUTH BUFFALO - When faced with adversity we often see those strong in creed and faith immediately rise to take on the challenge before them. On occasion, we see a smaller number of persons facing the same challenge not just rising to the challenge, but rising above and beyond the trials and tribulations to face the problem head on, not just for themselves, but for the greater good of all.

This is the thought behind Maggie Bell’s Brigade, and their fourth annual Happy Hour Fundraiser scheduled for May 2 at Doc Sullivans.

Maggie Bell is an 8-year old girl like many others that traverse our neighborhood. Two younger brothers, a bright, imaginative mind, and a love of Irish dance and soccer. To most she looks like any other neighborhood child - but to her family and loved ones - she’s so much more.

She’s the child that doesn’t flinch when they prick her finger over a dozen times a day to check “her levels” - a task necessitated by juvenile diabetes. She’s the patient known as a regular at Women’s and Children’s Hospital. She’s the student at school that has to pack a special lunch, say no to snack time, and can’t make a regular playdate with friends without a thorough vetting of the friend’s family and their ability and willingness to take on the task of watching over the medical care of Maggie while she’s in the household.

A normal day for Maggie is not normal.

So, what do you do when your child, before the age of four, is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, a disabling medical condition that requires constant monitoring and attention? In this neighborhood, you rally the troops, train extended family members to tend to Maggie’s needs so she can enjoy time with them without consequence and put in motion ways to not only alleviate - but abolish the need for medical care in the future for young Maggie – and the countless thousands of others like her.

“We would like to see not just better insulin, better treatment options for Juvenile Diabetes,” stated Liz Bell, Maggie’s mother, “But we are looking to find a cure for juvenile diabetes, so that Maggie, and children like her, don’t need to worry about their food, their treatment, and other issues that arise due to JD.”

And so the fundraising efforts started – almost immediately – upon young Maggie being diagnosed.

The Bell family is now in their fourth year of fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation [JDRF]. In as many years as Maggie has been aware of her diabetes, the Bell family has organized neighborhood events that have raised over $45,000 for the JDRF. They are just one family doing what they can, in honor of their beautiful young daughter, for the sake of not just her, but the thousands like her that on a daily basis alter their lifestyle to suit the demands of their medical condition.

Join the Bell family and friends at Doc Sullivan’s Pub, 474 Abbott Rd, for the “Maggie Bell Brigade Happy Hour” on May 2 at 5 pm to enjoy music, food, beer, raffles and fun, all for the benefits of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and all those lives that it helps to make better.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door or by calling Liz Bell at 361-0995.

All proceeds from the upcoming Doc Sullivan Happy Hour event on Friday, May 2, are donated directly to JDRF at the upcoming June JDRF Walk in Delaware Park.

While Type 1 Diabetes is getting recent national attention and funding, more is needed to spur the continued advancements that have been made in the research of the condition.

“There is a lot of talk about different devices that are on the horizon to help kids with diabetes, and also development of better insulin, but our goal is to have someone find a cure. We want Maggie and others like her not to have to worry about this anymore,” stated Liz Bell, “That is our ultimate goal.”

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