Madi Dodge, 16, of Milford, gets set to participate in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure with her father, Tim Dodge. Madi Dodge is the group's National Youth Advocate. / THE NEWS JOURNAL/ WILLIAM BRETZGER
To know Madi is to understand that if the brown-eyed, brown-haired girl with the whimsical braid had one wish, she would use it to help others.
On the outside, the Milford Senior High School junior wears a sweet smile, light freckles and perpetually upbeat attitude. On the inside, her body is waging a war against a rare intestinal disease and Type 1 diabetes. Dodge takes every precaution and makes every provision necessary to live with eosinophilic gastroenteritis -- a disease diagnosed when she was 13 that limits her to a daily diet of 10 fruits, 8 vegetables, white rice and whey protein -- but her greatest focus is helping other kids deal with a diabetes diagnosis.
That's what the 16-year-old honor student is doing as the American Diabetes Association's 2011 National Youth Advocate -- lobbying for for diabetes research and working to help other kids live with diabetes even as she deals with challenges ranging from wearing an insulin pump to fending off debilitating symptoms.
"If I had one wish," she said, it would be to help other kids with diabetes.
Dodge spends much of her time youths about the disease and has since age 5, when she was first diagnosed. On Saturday, she continued in that vein as the ambassador to the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure, a series of fundraising cycling events taking place across the country in support of the 18.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes. One of the events was the 64-mile ride from Newark that Dodge made Saturday with her father, Tim, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 22.
Under the warmth of the 8 a.m. sunshine, cyclists at White Clay Center in Newark began a to northeast Maryland and back. It was Madi Dodge's first ride of such distance. She was among roughly 130 riders at the event, which also was attended by 50 volunteers and 10 vendors.
Contact Cori Anne Natoli at 324-2855 firstname.lastname@example.org.