The Scioto Foundation has announced the establishment of the new MacKenzie Brown Type 1 Diabetes Scholarship Fund. MacKenzie is a junior and attends Notre Dame High School. MacKenzie developed the fund to help students diagnosed with the disease take care of college expenses.
MacKenzie and her parents, Kimberley and David Brown, have set criteria for those who are eligible for the scholarship which was established with an initial gift of $1,000 from Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth LLC. The scholarship recognizes students who are actively involved in the diabetic community, who participate in community and/or extra-curricular activities, and who demonstrate that they are successfully managing the challenges of living with diabetes.
To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be continuing his/her education beyond the high school level, have a childhood diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, and be successfully managing diabetes with proper medication, exercise and diet. The applicant must also write an essay describing his/her life as a type 1 diabetic. Scholarship selections will be made by the Scioto Foundation’s volunteer scholarship committee.
MacKenzie, who is the youngest person to establish a scholarship fund with the Scioto Foundation, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May, 2008 at the age of 9. Each year the number of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes increases by 3% each and every year worldwide. MacKenzie recognized the need for type 1 diabetes awareness, fundraising for financially disadvantaged type 1 diabetic families, and education. She set her goal to accomplish all of these things. She started an educational awareness campaign in November of 2015 during National Diabetes Awareness Month.
MacKenzie partnered with Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) to spread awareness about type 1 diabetes and to set up a fund for juvenile diabetes. “The Annual Development Fund for Juvenile Diabetes was developed to help financiallydisadvantaged type 1 diabetic families get to and from out of town appointments and help with meals and other expenses such as lodging, medical copays. The fund is also to be used for educational materials for pediatric offices and for newly diagnosed diabetic patients,” said MacKenzie.
MacKenzie launched her campaign by persuading the Notre Dame and Portsmouth High School Athletic Directors to organize a basketball game between the two schools on November 24, 2015. Proceeds from the game, t-shirts and wrist band sales, raffle donations, concessions, and $1 dress downs in all over $6,000 was raised by MacKenzie for families impacted by type 1 diabetes. The Foundation basketball game with be an annual event alternating host sites between Notre Dame and Portsmouth High Schools.
“There are several children in our community diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. There are two students other than myself that attended Notre Dame that are type 1 diabetics,” said MacKenzie. To increase awareness, MacKenzie developed and displayed educational boards, educational material, and type 1 diabetic supplies, at both Notre Dame High school and Notre Dame Elementary school. MacKenzie spoke to various school aged children in their classrooms at Notre Dame and Portsmouth Elementary schools about type 1 diabetes, signs, symptoms, and the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. She was also interviewed from local newspapers, and was featured on a segment of WSAZ speaking about type 1 diabetes and events coming up.
MacKenzie has much experience in public speaking and is at ease with speaking to small or large groups as she has been a presenter at the Ohio Valley T1D Support Group in which she is a member. MacKenzie was accepted as a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Southwest Ohio Youth Ambassador for 2016-2017. She was one of 16 chosen from several applicants. MacKenzie has been featured on websites such as Project Blue November and Beyond Type 1 for her positive attitude and persistence in helping to reach a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the insulin producing beta cells which leaves the person requiring insulin injections their entire life in order to live. Managing this disease is very difficult and requires extreme discipline for counting carbohydrates, monitoring blood glucose levels by finger pricks 6 or more times per day, and calculating insulin amounts to be administered. Elevated or low glucose levels (both can be life threatening) are common occurrences which make concentrating, learning, and physical activity difficult yet MacKenzie has been able to make all of these behind the scene practices appear relaxed.
“My mission is to educate the community to make others aware about this disease, how to recognize the signs, symptoms, and how to help someone with type 1diabetes. It may save a life! Diabetes is my life, educating, spreading awareness, and helping others is how I live beyond type 1,” said MacKenzie.
MacKenzie will be pursuant of a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and ultimately to become a pediatric endocrinologist when she graduates high school. MacKenzie plans to continue to educate and raise awareness about type 1 diabetes. She is currently planning a diabetes color walk/run at Notre Dame Schools to raise funds for JDRF.
On July 28, 2016, at the SOMC Friends Center, MacKenzie will continue her awareness and education efforts when she holds a camp “Pumped on Insulin,” for all ages of young people who have type 1 diabetes. MacKenzie was selected to represent her school, Notre Dame High school, in the Miss River Days Pageant. The camp will be part of her community service as a 2016 Miss River Days Festival candidate. Vendors will be attending as well as diabetes educational speakers.
MacKenzie and her parents are grateful to the community which has been very supportive. Now they hope the MacKenzie Brown Type 1 Diabetes Scholarship Fund will draw more attention to this disease that affects young people, and with hard work by MacKenzie, her family and friends, attract both donations and applicants in the future.
Family, friends, organizations or the general public can contribute to the fund at any time. Donations to the MacKenzie Brown Type 1 Diabetic Fund may be in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property.
Additional information about the MacKenzie Brown Type 1 Diabetes Fund or other planned giving opportunities at the Scioto Foundation may be obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Office – Donor Services, or SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip at (740)354-4612.