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Our Unforgettable Experience with Riley, Pro Golf and Hope


July 25, 2017
Topics: Donors, Riley Kid Story, Diabetes



caleb blog image

Our son Caleb, a 12-year-old who has had type 1 diabetes since age 8, recently had the chance to represent Riley at the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort. This event is not just about raising money for Riley kids, or about great golf. It’s about great golfers giving hope to kids in every way you can imagine. We could not be more honored that Caleb was chosen to be an announcer.

Caleb was diagnosed at age 8, on a day that none of us will ever forget. He had always been a very healthy boy. In the beginning of April 2013, he began to display odd symptoms: he was constantly thirsty, very weak and tired, sweaty for no apparent reason, had difficulty sleeping well through the night, was urinating frequently, and was losing weight. When we weighed him and noticed he had lost 13 pounds of his 82 pound body weight, we called our Deaconess Hospital pediatrician in a panic. They saw him right away, and within moments of taking vitals and doing some basic tests, were giving him a preliminary type 1 diabetes diagnosis.  

We were told we needed to get Caleb to Riley Hospital as quickly as possible—that he was very ill and in danger. It was truly a life-changing and overwhelming day for our entire family.

The doctors and the whole team at Riley were incredible. We spent four days at Riley learning all we needed to know to care for Caleb, including how to test and monitor blood sugar every day throughout the day, how to treat high and low blood sugar, how to give injections and calculate insulin doses, how to deal with even simple illnesses that can seriously impact diabetes, how to talk with friends, relatives, and how to manage the diabetes with school, which is a big deal. We went home with tools, resources, and hope that we could manage this disease and keep our precious son healthy.  

Since that time, we continue to see a Riley Pediatric Endocrinologist who comes to Evansville routinely to meet with patients. Having our Riley specialist come to our Deaconess campus in Evansville makes it easy for us.

When he was diagnosed, his first question to the Riley doctor, with tears flowing down his face was, “Will I still be able to play sports?” Caleb is a big athlete who loves every sport. The doctor quickly answered, that he would absolutely be able to play whatever sport he wanted, as long as he treated his diabetes with the highest level of attention and really cared for himself. One of the residents and came back a few hours later with a printed out list of professional athletes who have type 1 diabetes. He gave Caleb a powerful talk about what you CAN do with this disease. This gave Caleb and our whole family such a sense of hope and encouragement. 

That theme continued at the Senior LPGA Championship. Through this event we met and became special friends with Michelle McGann, a pro golfer who has type 1 diabetes. She is living proof that you can do what you love, even pro sports, with diabetes.  She has an incredible attitude and is a great role model to young people living with this disease. We will be friends forever as a result of this partnership.   

The experience we had as advocates for Riley at this event was very personal for us. Our family could not be more grateful for the connection to Michelle, and for the opportunity to raise awareness about the life-changing and hope-giving work of the Riley team and the women of the Senior LPGA.


Carrie Ellspermann

Carrie Ellspermann and her husband Ken are the parents of two girls and two boys, including Riley diabetes patient Caleb. The family lives in Evansville.


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