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Extraordinary Kids: Logan Merwin

By Kathy Brown.

Logan Merwin, age 10, will be attending Haddam Killingworth Middle School in the fall. He has spent his life in Higganum, with his parents Samantha and Doug. At age 17 months old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, as well as multiple food allergies at age 3. Does he let it hold him back? Not in the least. Instead, he has become an outspoken leader in telling others about both diabetes and food allergies, starting a blog, and becoming an ambassador for the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Promise Ball (you can read more about Living with Diabetes here).

When asked what goals he has for himself for the next 2-3 years, he answered “My goal is to keep practicing bike riding to be able to bike the 25 mile bike ride to fundraise for JDRF when I am 13. Next year I celebrate 10 years with Type 1 diabetes so I have set several goals for myself which include fundraising for Children with Diabetes which helps kids thrive with Type 1, Riding on Insulin, a ski camp for kids with Type 1, JDRF of course and Beyond Type 1 that has an awesome pen pal program and lots of information for families.” But he didn’t stop there! He continued, “My other goal is to be able to go to Alaska and finally be able to say I’ve been in the Arctic Circle. As you can see, I have a ton of goals and I will have fun trying to meet every single one of them!”

Logan receiving Unexpected Hero Award

Logan fundraises for several organizations. The primary one is Children with Diabetes, an online community for children with diabetes, so they can connect and talk about their disease, or other interests. They have an annual conference called “Friends for Life” and Logan is raising money so that he can sponsor a special event at the next conference, which is near his 10 year anniversary of being diagnosed with diabetes (called a diaversary, in the diabetes community). You can find out more about his 10 year goals on his blog post  or his Facebook page. His fundraising page can be found HERE. You can see his speech at this year’s conference HERE, where he was inspiring others to fundraise for Children with Diabetes. After the speech, he received an “Unexpected Hero Award” for “his passionate support of CWD.” He also received an award from Disney later that week. That award was for his inspiration to other kids to fundraise and support the event, which is held at Disney each year.

Laura Billetdeaux is the VP of Education and Programs for Children with Diabetes, and runs the Friends for Life conference each year. In 2016, Logan attended his first one in Orlando. Logan asked his mother to schedule an hour with Ms. Billetdeaux on the Saturday the conference ended so that he could share his feedback and ideas with her. “He did so. Five pages worth. And when I was done taking notes on his ideas, he read over my shoulder to make sure I’d captured the ideas correctly,” Ms. Billetdeaux told us. “I remember leaning over to his mom, Samantha, and saying, ‘This kiddo is going places.'” She continued, “Logan is an extraordinary young man — inquisitive, well-spoken, funny, and motivated to make a difference. That piece — the motivation to make a difference — is, I think, what makes him so special. Lots of kids hold fundraisers for things that are important to them. To Logan, yes, the fundraiser itself is important, but it’s more than that. Inspiring other kids to make a difference is equally important. He’s not afraid to pick up a microphone, stand in the spotlight on stage, and tell 2,000 what they can do to help. He shares his ideas, and his enthusiasm sparks others to action.”

 

Tony Lafo went into partnership with Logan, to help raise money for Children with Diabetes. Tony Lafo Racing, LLC is helping to raise awareness by featuring the CWD logo on their #82 Ford F-150 Pro-Truck as well as their Hauler and T-shirts and will donate 10% of their race winnings to Logan’s fundraising efforts during 2017 with a minimum pledge of $1,000.00. Tony Lafo, owner of racing truck #82, says, “Logan is  very smart and a very outgoing boy who has wisdom well beyond his years. He is very dedicated to his causes and dedicates an amazing amount of time to not only help himself but to help others as well. He loves coming to the race shop and he is thrilled to do any task that is asked of him, in fact usually it is Logan who asks if he can pick up rivets off the floor and sweep the floor or help with the truck. I have been amazed at how well versed he is with his medical issues and how he handles himself. He certainly has a bright future.” You can read more about Haddam’s race truck HERE.

For all of his involvement in raising money and devoting time to charities, he is just a normal kid who when he grows up wants to be “a banker during the week, a monster truck driver on the weekend, and on the side I’m going to work for the Hot Wheels Design Studio.” He says his favorite thing about growing up in Haddam is the ability to visit friends “without driving a lot. You can bike or walk.” He said he liked learning about the history of Haddam in school and “I like having a big yard here in Haddam so I can play and have an awesome bobsled run in the winter.” He likes music and art, but doesn’t like writing “unless it’s with the school newspaper!

“I’ve known Logan for three years,” said Celeste Formica, HES Teacher. “I sat down for my first real meeting with Logan in August 2014 a few weeks before his year in 2nd grade was due to begin. I was so impressed with how articulate and knowledgeable he was. He gave me a tutorial on juvenile diabetes and his food allergies and what that would look like day to day in the classroom so we would start the year ready to roll. Logan was a student in my classroom for two years – I taught 3rd grade the following year.  Logan has many strengths – he is a strong advocate for himself and others. He is bright, clever, friendly, and really knows a lot about cars and coins. Logan faces health challenges in a no-nonsense way that shows a real strength of character. He is always willing to share his knowledge of juvenile diabetes and food allergies with classmates and others. What is most impressive to me about Logan is his cheerfulness. He came to school at HES with a grin and an elbow bump every single day. Even when I knew he wasn’t feeling his best, or was tired from a rough night of out of range blood sugars, Logan would share a smiling, ‘Good morning!!’  I know that he must have felt challenged at times, but he was always positive in my room and particularly loved assemblies, field trips, or other school events, anything that taught him something new. I missed him when he moved to 4th grade last year but I’ll miss that smile and daily elbow bump even more as he moves to the middle school next year!! Logan is a terrific kid with an incredibly bright future. I can’t wait to say, ‘I knew him when…’ and hear about his amazing accomplishments and adventures.”

That positive outlook is echoed by others who know him. Dorothy Luhn, a neighbor, says, “Logan is one of my favorite neighborhood kids! Always happy to see me, he is an elaborate story teller, providing fun facts, details, statistics and little bits of advice, based on his experiences and travels. I think Logan sees the world a little differently than other kids his age do, which may be due to his T1D condition. His wheels are always turning and I love to hear what is on his mind! Logan is quite the entrepreneur, growing gourds and selling them around the neighborhood for Fall decorations. He is also a reliable kid for hire to water my plants and keep my pool maintained while I travel. A lovable kid all around!! You can find fun loving Logan out on the road drawing chalk mazes, riding his bike, or hanging up Christmas decorations with his Dad to try again and again to win the Haddam best decorated house competition! He is probably packing his bags right now, for his next adventure.”

“Several times a week he would stop me in the hallway or catch me at parent sign-out,”  said Judy Nacca, HES Literacy Coach, “to tell me something of incredible interest to him–such as a coin he owns that is a thousand years old, or some such rare meteorological phenomenon–and his delivery and pace always made it interesting to me (a little like a cross between a pedantic college professor and the surfer-dude sea turtle, Crush, from Finding Nemo). In my opinion, nothing is more exciting to a teacher (or parent) when a child lights up like that with genuine interest, passion and joy. That interest, passion and joy — that makes Logan seem extraordinary to me. He is truly unique in that way, and although he will be the first to admit that he dislikes the physical act of writing, I have encouraged him to capture his musings as often as possible to refine his thinking and share his ideas with others. He certainly has ideas worth sharing!”

Elbow bumping at Mountain Bike Camp

Logan also fundraises for “Beyond Type 1,” an organization that utilizes technology and social media. They want to “change what it means to live with Type 1 diabetes by educating the global community about this chronic, autoimmune disease, as well as providing resources and support for those living with Type 1, Beyond Type 1 bridges the gap from diagnosis to cure, empowering people to both live well today and to fund a better tomorrow. 100% of every dollar raised directly supports the most promising global efforts and programs working to educate, advocate and cure Type 1 diabetes.” He wants to be able to donate Jerry Bears to kids who can’t afford them. His fundraising page for that is HERE.

Logan participated in “Riding on Insulin” ski camp last winter, where he got to ski with other kids with diabetes. For Logan, it’s not enough just to DO these things. He had such a fantastic time that he wants to raise money so that he can send other kids to the ski camp who can’t afford to go. That fundraiser can be found HERE. He attended Mountain Bike Camp through Riding on Insulin this summer.

Logan bumping elbows with Nick Jonas

When asked if he could meet anyone, he chose Nick Jonas (one of the founders of Beyond Type 1) and Ryan Reed (stock car race driver). Logan said, “I am a huge racing fan and I love to sing. Both of [these men] have Type 1 and I have a lot of questions for them!” He doesn’t seem to have a problem talking to adults or children, and is passionate about many things. Logan did get to meet Nick Jonas earlier this year at a Bloomingdales’ promotion, but he wants to sit down and really talk to him! When asked if there was anything else people should know about him, he said, “I will never let Type 1 stop me from doing what I want to do in life.”

Another thing he’s known for is doing “elbow bumps” instead of high fives, to minimize cross contamination because of his food allergies. If you see Logan around town, give this extraordinary kid an elbow bump!

2 Responses to Extraordinary Kids: Logan Merwin

  1. Pingback: Check out this article about Logan in our local paper! – elbowbumpkid

  2. David Baldridge

    July 31, 2017 at 3:50 am

    Grandma Lois and Grandpa Don would have been very proud of Logan.