TURLOCK -- McKenzie Bronken must make mighty good lemonade: Someone gave her $200 for just one cup.
McKenzie, 10, is a Walnut Elementary School student, a Turlock native and a Type 1 diabetes patient. She's also a fund-raising dynamo for the JDRF, which provides research funding for scientists seeking a cure for diabetes.
She opened a lemonade stand last month and brought in more than $1,800 in three hours, accepting donations in exchange for lemonade sugared and sugar-free caramel corn, brownies and Rice Krispie treats.
"Mom put it on Facebook," McKenzie said. "A lot of people showed up."
The money is going toward "Miles for Mack," the team McKenzie is leading for the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on Sunday in Sacramento.
The JDRF was founded in 1970 as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In 2011, it was rebranded as the JDRF in recognition that 85 percent of those who have Type 1 diabetes are adults.
McKenzie's team, which includes mom Brett, dad Bob and sister Spencer, as well as friends of the family, has raised more than $3,000, far exceeding her original goal of $1,000. "It's a family effort," Brett Bronken said.
And McKenzie is just getting started.
"I want to help find a cure for diabetes," she said. She's been dealing with the disease since being diagnosed at the age of 6.
Brett Bronken said she knew there was something wrong with her daughter when McKenzie lost a lot of weight and had to use the restroom all the time her kidneys were working overtime to process the excess sugar in her system.
"We went to Disneyland, and she'd ride only one ride and then she'd have to use the bathroom," Brett said. "She was very, very skinny, and she was thirsty all the time."
Looking back, Brett said the symptoms seemed obvious. But the family had no history of diabetes, and no reason to suspect McKenzie might have it.
Insulin and lots of tests
A doctor in Turlock referred the Bronkens to Children's Hospital Central California in Madera, where McKenzie was diagnosed. She was put on insulin shots and learned how to test her blood. A year later, she received a pump that she must wear to automatically deliver the insulin she needs on a schedule.
"She's the most remarkable diabetic I've ever seen," Brett Bronken said of her daughter. "She's responsible for testing herself and giving herself corrections."
The corrections come via a remote-control device that tells the pump to give extra insulin when a test reveals she needs it.
"When (the blood sugar is) high, I run the stairs and drink a lot of water," Mc-Kenzie said. "When I'm low, I immediately drink a juice."
Although the little girl has adapted to handling her disease, it is limiting. At birthday parties, she has to monitor her blood before deciding whether to have a treat. If she's hungry, she has to check before she can eat. She weighs her food and logs the number of carbohydrates she eats.
Sleepovers at friends' homes are rare, because McKenzie's blood must be tested at least three times overnight. If a bad number comes up, she has to be retested in an hour to see if the pump is working; it can get clogged. There aren't a lot of parents equipped to take on that kind of a challenge.
"We have friends stay here," Brett said.
The testing generally at least 10 times a day and the regular injections of insulin are a permanent part of McKenzie's life, as is the careful monitoring of her food and activity.
"You don't outgrow it," Brett said. "She'll be like this the rest of her life."
McKenzie is determined to do her part to put an end to diabetes. She's planning on more fund-raisers to bring in an even bigger take for next year's walk.
"I hope it goes to helping find a cure," McKenzie said. "I don't like this disease."
Donations to McKenzie's JDRF walk team can be made at www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-CA/Chapter-NorthernCAInland4052?pg= team&frid=1849&team_id=60635.
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2343.