Father’s Support of Children’s Takes on New Meaning After His Son Becomes a Patient

June 15, 2016

Jared Behnke fundraised for Children’s Medical Center as a way to give back. He enjoyed it, but said he often did not feel much of a personal connection to the institution.

That changed dramatically in 2012.

His youngest son, Wynn, then only 17 months old, became sick and started losing weight. A blood test at a local pediatrician’s office showed incredibly high blood sugar levels.

“We saw the look on the nurse’s face, and we immediately knew something was wrong,” Mr. Behnke said. “It went from being very relaxed to being very strenuous in an instant.”

The toddler was rushed to Children’s intensive care unit by ambulance. Less than a week later, Wynn was released with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, and his parents were given a thick, three-ring binder on how to treat and monitor their son.

“After five days we left confident,” Mr. Behnke said. “Children’s did a phenomenal job of making us feel confident that we could take our son home, and that we could take care of him and deal with this.”

Wynn’s blood sugar levels are carefully recorded, and a monitor he often wears on his arm is connected by Bluetooth. Now 4, Wynn gets four insulin shots daily, in addition to the 10 to 15 finger pricks he has to have every day to test his blood.

“He’s a real trooper,” his dad said. “He doesn’t fuss because it’s routine for him.”

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The family participates every year in the Red Balloon Run & Ride, Children’s signature fundraising event. Mr. Behnke said he and his wife, Sallie, love supporting the Run & Ride because it allows them to designate to which area of the hospital the funds they raise benefit. Their team, Wynn’s Warriors, supports endocrinology, and they have raised more than $45,000 for Children’s through the Run & Ride.

Both Wynn and his 6-year-old brother, Will, love the Red Balloon Run & Ride and all of the kid-friendly activities it offers families. Wynn also likes trains, swimming and collecting rocks – the joys of a normal boyhood.

“Without Children’s, Wynn wouldn’t be alive,” Mr. Behnke said. “There’s no question that the doctors and nurses at Children’s saved our son’s life.”


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