by Phil Ambroziak

Volunteers rarely, if ever, want to be recognized.
This is how Meadow Lake resident Karissa LaBrash feels in spite of the fact her family was recently honoured for its ongoing support of Diabetes Canada.

“When we put in the hard work, we’re not looking to be acknowledged,” LaBrash remarked. “But it is nice when it happens – not for us, but for the kids because they’re just starting out and to be recognized early on will only encourage them to want to help more.”

Recently, Northern Pride reported local resident Skylah Mysko would be receiving the Diabetes Canada Regional Youth Volunteer Award during a special luncheon in Saskatoon May 4. The LaBrash family – Karissa, Albert and sons Xandyn and Kazzer – were also in attendance for the luncheon where they were presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award for northwest Saskatchewan.

“The award has our name on it, but it’s primarily because of the efforts of the Me to We group at Jonas Samson Junior High,” LaBrash said. “They are the ones who organized a face-shaving fundraiser last fall in support of prostate cancer and, because it was also Diabetes Awareness Month, Xandyn and Kazzer brought that to the group’s attention which in turn decided to split the money raised between prostate cancer research and Diabetes Canada. The Me to We group ended up donating $1,050 to Diabetes Canada.”

Kazzer LaBrash has type 1 diabetes which is the reason why his family strongly supports the national organization and its efforts to provide for individuals and families affected by the condition.

“The LaBrash family has been an active member of the Diabetes Canada family for a few years, participating in both family camp while Kazzer, who lives with type 1 diabetes, has attended summer D-camp,” explained Brie Hnetka, Diabetes Canada’s regional director for Saskatchewan. “This year the family went the extra mile to support D-camps in their school. They took a fun idea and got their whole community behind them. They talked six teachers at Jonas Samson High School into shaving their faces in support of diabetes and prostate cancer last November.”

While the family was happy to attend the luncheon in support of the organization, they did not expect to receive an actual award.

“We didn’t know anything about it, but that’s not the driving force for us anyway,” LaBrash said. “Our goal is to help support Diabetes Canada so, one day, maybe a cure can be found.”

She also said the family plans to continue to fundraise whenever and wherever it can.

“This is just the beginning for us,” she noted. “Hopefully we can continue to gather community support  – not just for Kazzer, but for people like Skylah and others living with type 1 diabetes. It’s not just my kid who receives support, but other community members as well.”