Mike Kaufmann fears that he could have lost his son Drake.

It was almost two years ago, the younger Kaufmann was 6-years-old and had been looking noticeably sick.

The boy had lost a lot of weight, and Kaufmann said that he was always thirsty. He didn’t think much of it though, he didn’t want to be overbearing or a hyper-reactionary parent, he said.

Kaufmann never expected that his son could be suffering from Type 1 diabetes, but he was, and it was getting dangerously close to the limits that his son’s body could handle.

The family was in Wal-Mart, and they ran into some people they knew. “Man, your son looks awfully sick,” they said, according to Kaufmann.

During this trip to Wal-Mart, Drake got sick in the aisle, and the family decided to forego an appointment they had scheduled for later in the week and immediately head to the hospital.

It turned out to be a good, and possibly life-saving, decision.

“When we get in there, the nurse goes to take his temperature and goes ‘oh!’, and runs out of the room,” said Kaufmann. 

Another nurse entered the room, and the nurses tested Drake’s blood sugar. The Mayo Clinic recommends that blood sugar levels range anywhere from 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Drake’s registered over 750, according to Kaufmann.

“Not to be overdramatic, but if we would have let him go to sleep, his body was going into ketoacidosis,” said Kaufmann.

Ketoacidosis, according to The Mayo Clinic, is a complication of diabetes that happens when your body can’t produce enough insulin, resulting in the buildup of acids in the bloodstream called ketones.

Left untreated, it can be fatal.

The Kaufmann family was lucky that night, and now Drake is doing fine. As a family, they’ve overcome the early stresses of juvenile diabetes — “you try to explain to your 6-year-old kid why (you’re) stabbing him with needles trying to keep him alive” — and have found a community of parents and kids who are dealing with the same circumstances.

Some of those parents aren’t as lucky as them, though.

“There’s parents out there… they don’t catch it in time, and they lose a child,” said Kaufmann.

He knows this because he’s talked to those parents at fundraising events, and they’ve shared their stories with him.

Now, the Kaufmann family has started their own fundraiser.

Cure in the Country will take place for the first time at The Red Barn in Mackinaw, Ill. on Saturday, July 27. The proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF). 

Kaufmann hopes this is only the first step in creating a yearly event to raise funds for research, but, more importantly, he said, to raise awareness.

“I hate to say it, but 10 grand from us would be pennies (for) how much money it takes for the research they do,” said Kaufmann. “The number one thing is advocacy for the disease itself.”

Cure in the Country will take place from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $12.

The Red Barn is located at 32597 Hay Road, Mackinaw. Country musician Craig Gerdes is the headliner for the event.