Making Waves in L.A.
When Kevin Wehrenberg became concerned about the media’s portrayal of type 1 diabetes (T1D) during the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, he contacted the Los Angeles Chapter, wanting to discuss the issue. The chapter’s executive director was impressed and soon asked Kevin to join the local Board. “Kevin’s profound passion, unyielding determination and fact-based perspective positions him perfectly as a volunteer leader for JDRF,” says Larry Meisner, California regional director. “He is an advocacy and fundraising powerhouse, always looking for heightened awareness and greater efficiencies to ensure the highest return to JDRF’s mission.”
Kevin may be one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but he also knows how to stir people up—and often prompts people to pay attention to the heart-wrenching side of T1D. He does not hold back when he talks about his eight-year-old son, Charlie, who was diagnosed with the disease at age three. He gets choked up when he recalls the first time he had to give Charlie an insulin shot. He says, “It took two nurses and my wife to hold him still. Crying and screaming, with an innocent voice, he asked me, ‘Dad, why are you hurting me?’” Kevin wants a cure for T1D so that parents will no longer have to hear that question from their children.
Not one to sit on the sidelines, Kevin quickly jumped in to help make a difference for his son and the millions of others who live with T1D. He is currently serving as president of the Los Angeles Chapter, and he has big plans for the chapter’s future. His strategy includes cutting costs on the fundraising events while enhancing and improving those events at the same time. He says, “I am very excited to continue to grow our board and to continue to increase the revenue of the chapter.”
As co-executive producer of the television show Wipeout and many others, Kevin has plenty of connections. He is able to secure in-kind support ranging from production crews to catering and video equipment for the chapter’s special events. “But in the end,” he says, “the largest help I have received is from the people who work with me currently or in the past, because a lot of these people were around when Charlie was diagnosed.” Every year, his friends and coworkers join his family’s Walk team, Charlie’s Angels, to help raise money for JDRF. Last year Charlie’s Angels raised more than $100,000.
The Wehrenberg family has since adjusted and adapted to the relentless day-to-day management of T1D. Still, Kevin notes, “There are no days off. There are consequences if you do take days off.” Each year his family observes the date Charlie was diagnosed: July 7, 2008. Kevin explains, “We call it D-day. Every year we have a party—like a birthday party—to celebrate another year of successfully living with the disease.”