Meet The McGowans
Dustin McGowan, a former MLB pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins, and his daughter, McKensy, have type 1 diabetes. The McGowans are the 2020 Tee Off for Tots Honoree Family and are helping to raise funds to start a sports program especially for children with diabetes. Read their story in a letter from Dustin below:
Growing up in the small town of Ludowici, Georgia, all I ever wanted to do was play baseball. The last thing I expected was a type 1 diabetes diagnosis that came when I was 21 and pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays.
There were many days when I wondered how I would play through overwhelming fatigue as I learned to manage my diabetes. I also had to get used to wearing an insulin pump on the mound.
All of that was incredibly difficult, but nothing compared to hearing that my child also had type 1 diabetes. Our daughter McKensy, now 12, was diagnosed when she was 5.
It is heartbreaking for any child to get diabetes, but especially when it’s your child and you know the hardships that come with it. Every day is a balance between monitoring McKensy’s blood sugar levels so that they do not become dangerously high or low and wanting to give her the same experiences and opportunities as other children.
After 18 years in professional baseball, I retired to Tallahassee, where I now coach at St. John Paul II Catholic High School. Our family is so happy to be a part of this community and to ask for your help on behalf of children fighting type 1 diabetes.
Children with diabetes deserve to dream big. They need to know that they can succeed in sports – and in all aspects of life, which is why we are asking you to support Tee Off for Tots and The Proctor Endowment for Children with Diabetes.
Simply visit TMH.ORG/Car to purchase your raffle tickets for the all new, 2021 Acura TLX, donated by The Proctor Dealerships.
Your ticket purchase will help start a sports camp for children with type 1 diabetes.
It’s so important to us that McKensy feels empowered to pursue her passions. She loves riding horses, and we want her to know that she can accomplish anything. Sports camps help children with diabetes realize that their options are not limited by their disease.
The best thing about diabetes camps is that they are staffed by medical professionals, which brings huge peace of mind to children and parents.
Here’s the thing: We rarely sleep, and when we do, it is lightly because we must monitor McKensy’s blood sugar levels around the clock.
We are up and down the stairs all night. If her sugar is low, we’re waking her up to drink juice; if it’s high, we’re giving her shots of insulin. Allowing her to sleep at a friend’s house or go to an overnight camp is a scary thought. Without careful monitoring, a child’s blood sugar level can become life-threatening.
Diabetes camps erase these fears and allow children to have a typical camp experience. As McKensy says, “If there are doctors there, I am worriless!”
All children with type 1 diabetes deserve to feel worriless. Will you help give a child the freedom to simply be a kid and enjoy camp?
Tee Off for Tots funds an annual camp where children with diabetes can engage in fun activities and connect with their peers. With your support, funding for this camp will continue, and you will help start a new camp, where children can explore and learn sports in a safe and empowering environment.
Your participation in Tee Off for Tots also funds the Tallahassee Memorial Metabolic Health Center’s detection, education and treatment programs, which help children as young as age 2 and their families cope with the medical and emotional challenges of this terrible disease.
We are so excited about this opportunity to show children with diabetes that they can excel at sports at the highest levels. The confidence and skills they will gain are priceless and will benefit them their entire lives.
Sports has enriched my family’s life in so many ways. Please join us in helping to bring sports to children with diabetes by purchasing your car raffle ticket through Tee Off for Tots.
Thank you for supporting children who need to know that diabetes does not limit their potential!
The McGowan Family
Dustin, Jilly, McKensy and Brooklynn
P.S. The suggested minimum price for a Tee Off for Tots Car Raffle ticket is $85, but your gift of any amount will help. You also have the opportunity to make an additional gift with your ticket purchase. All proceeds directly benefit children with type 1 diabetes. Purchase your ticket.