To kids from kids | VailDaily.com

To kids from kids

Veronica Whitney
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyFrom left, Michael Rushmore, Luke DeTrempe, Jack DeTrempe, Caroline Rushmore, Nick DeTrempe and Hank DeTrempe founded a charity to help children with heart problems and diabetes.
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EAGLE COUNTY – Last year when a group of teen-age cousins from the Chicago suburbs were skiing at Beaver Creek, the whole group had to stop to help 14-year-old cousin Jack DeTrempe when his blood sugar suddenly dropped.Jack, of Barrington, Ill., had recently been diagnosed with diabetes and the news bothered the group of cousins whose families own a home in Arrowhead and vacation together every year.”It’s an abrupt change in your lifestyle, you have to have Diet Coke and get shots,” said Nick DeTrempe, 16, Jack’s brother.Another cousin, Michael Rushmore, 13, of Wilmette, Ill., also has a health problem – a congenital heart defect.Each year more than 13,000 children are diagnosed with diabetes in the United States, reports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. And nearly 1 percent of newborns – or about 40,000 babies a year in the United States – are born with a congenital heart defect, according to The Children’s Heart Foundation.Board of directorsSo on Christmas 2003, as the cousins were having hot chocolate, the DeTrempe and Rushmore kids – who usually spend about 20 days skiing in the valley – thought about how they could make their trips to Vail more meaningful.In the summer, they met with Vail Resorts chief executive Adam Aron to talk about hosting a fund-raiser to benefit several nonprofits.

“I was pretty freaked out this is finally getting our idea off the ground,” Michael said of his meeting with Aron. “When he said ‘yes,’ I was exited and thought, ‘Now we have work to do.. We have a five-year plan. This will continue.”In September, the six cousins founded the Alpine Children’s Charity, a nonprofit organization to raise money to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and The Children’s Heart Foundation. Additional charities will be added in the future as the foundation grows, the cousins said.The mission of the Alpine Children’s Charity is to raise money for research and promote public awareness of various childhood diseases.”Our mission statement is to have kids help other kids,” Mike said.”We chose those two charities because of Jack’s and Mike’s problems,” Nick said.And the cousins are taking it seriously enough they all are part of the charity’s board of directors. Michael spent 10 hours working on the Web site while Jack and Michael created the charity’s logo. The other cousins involved are: Hank DeTrempe, 11, Luke DeTrempe, 9, and Caroline Rushmore, 12.”Our parents handle the legal side,” Nick said.Life-long commitment

Instead of skiing as much as they could Christmas week, the cousins and their parents toured the valley talking to people about their fund-raiser and meeting with possible sponsors to prepare for the ski event on March 25 in Vail.”Also, we have dreams of expanding the charity nationally,” Michael said.Sue Rushmore, Michael and Caroline’s mother, said the families have always been involved in charity work, but organizing their own charity has gotten the children more involved.”The idea is that it builds a life-long commitment to doing good for others,” Rushmore said. “They learned a ton about the process.””Sometimes you come out and take it for granted,” added Cindy DeTrempe, the mother of Jack, Nick, Luke and Hank. “This is a great opportunity for them to realize how lucky they are to do this.”To Doug Mele, 48, the children’s uncle from Vail, there are two positive sides to the charity.”The fact that the money goes to the charities and that the kids can learn the lessons of giving back – these are life-long lessons,” Mele said. “The vision for me is to eventually see the kids who are receiving the money from the ones who are giving it.”Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com.

============================Cruisin’ For KidsWhat: First fund-raising event to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The Children’s Heart Foundation and the Red Ribbon Project. Participants – children and adults – will get pledges to support them in a day of skiing and snowboarding at the Nastar course in Vail. Each participant who raises at least $500 will get a free lift ticket and lunch from Vail Resorts. Who: Alpine Children’s CharityWhen: March 25 Where: Black Forest race arena, VailThose interested in participating or sponsoring the event, contact the DeTrempe family at (847)382-0908 or the Rushmores at (847)251-5945On the Web: http://www.alpinechildrenscharity.org.==========================================Vail, Colorado