CMN Hospitals helps hero combat diagnosis - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

CMN Hospitals helps hero combat diagnosis

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Willa Krase Willa Krase
Jill and Ethan Krase Jill and Ethan Krase
Dr. Katie Marquart Dr. Katie Marquart
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

One in every ten kids in the United States is treated at a Children's Miracle Network Hospital each year.

That's according to the CMN Hospitals and includes  16,000 kids in the ER, about 2,218 undergoing cancer treatment and 935 for diabetes. The Krase family, who reside in Winona, know those statistics all too well.

The summer of 2013 seemed much longer than usual for the Krase family.

"We all figured I was just having a big growth spurt and I thought maybe I had some kind of virus too because I just felt tired all the time," expressed Willa Krase, a Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Hero at Gundersen Health System for 2016-2017.

"Jill turned to me one day and said, 'Do you think she could be diabetic?' And I said no. There's no way, but she was drinking so much water. That eating and that thirst just continued to the point that it was undeniable, like something's up," said Ethan Krase, Willa's dad.

At the end of October, just days before Willa Krase's 10th birthday, she was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. 

Dr. Katie Marquart, a Pediatric Endocrinologist at Gundersen Health System began working with Willa shortly after her diagnoses and said it's a big, overwhelming job for anyone to take on-let a lone a child.

"There's nothing that somebody would do in their day to day life that doesn't affect their blood sugar," said Marquart.

Willa was ordered to abruptly pack her bags and head to Gundersen Health System and while she thought she was cured after her first insulin shot, her and her parents quickly realized it would be a trying, stressful journey that required them to work together.

"She has to poke her finger and test her blood sugar before every meal and before bedtime and any time that she feels low, or high, or strange," said Jill Krase, Willa's mom.

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals helped ease the transition, providing the tools needed to combat her diabetes while making the student the teacher. 

"We often have nursing students and other healthcare students rotating though our clinic and if she's here for an appointment, she's teaching those students about diabetes right along with me. Showing them her pump, showing them where it inserts," added Marquart.

Not to mention, CMN Hospitals covers the funds for Willa to attend a sleep away diabetes camp every summer.

"Camp is the best, I love it so much. I fit in, everybody has exactly the same condition. Eighty percent of the campers have insulin pumps and the other twenty percent is on pens or needles," smiled Willa.

Most recently, giving her the opportunity to serve as an ambassador.

"Almost every event we go to we think, oh this will be okay and we come home going, that was so fun! We met so many nice people and people are so generous," said Jill. "Seeing her stand up in front of groups and share her story and you know, reach out and help in the way that she can," added Ethan.

And at only 13-years-old, Willa is simply thankful, "I really like knowing that I'm helping to make a difference, that's just really comforting."

Her younger sister, Adelaide has Celiac Disease, a related autoimmune disorder and was diagnosed this past Fall, 2016 with Type I Diabetes as well.

Both Willa and Addy will travel to diabetes camp together things summer ,thanks to the support from CMN Hospitals. 

MORE INFORMATION: Gundersen Health System Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

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