According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, and an estimated 40,000 people will be newly diagnosed each year.
Meredith and Brad Stadler, the owners of CrossFit DT1 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, have a special place in their hearts for people battling this disease. Their son, Luke, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 7 years old. Their Box donates 10 percent of its gross revenue to their non-profit organization, DT1 Charities. The non-profit gives 100 percent of every dollar raised to Type 1 research.
To date, CrossFit DT1 has raised $89,121 for DT1 Charities.
“Type 1 diabetes was not even on our radar before Luke was diagnosed,” said Meredith. “It is such a different disease than what anyone thinks of when they think of diabetes. It is very difficult for these kids who battle it — Luke was having seven shots a day just to eat. It is all-consuming and is a big deal, especially on a little kid.”
Meredith knew those fighting lifelong diseases walked a thin line of getting burnt out, and she didn’t want to see that in her son. Thus, she encouraged him to embrace Type 1 rather than fight it.
“My thought in starting CrossFit DT1 was this is an all-consuming disease — you are either going to be all in or kind of push it off,” explained Meredith. “I feel like it is dangerous for Luke to not embrace this. I was like, ‘Well if we get heavily involved in the community maybe Luke would think it was a bit easier.’ We thought the gym was a great idea because obviously him eating well and staying healthier makes his life a little bit easier. We were interested in CrossFit anyway — it was our hobby and passion. I thought this would be good for my son to be exposed to it and get involved in the Type 1 community.”
The Box started their own non-profit, DT1 Charities, in order to ensure they knew where each penny donated was going. They split the received donations between Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, which gives money directly to Type 1 families, and to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding Type 1 diabetes research.
Not only does this fight against the disease bring the Stadler family together for a bigger cause, it has also spurred the DT1 community to rally together for various causes. They have participated in 5Ks, and aim to get involved in various charitable causes. “I feel the charity angle of our gym really inspires people and brings a more committed base to our gym,” said Meredith.
Growth is in the future for CrossFit DT1. They are currently in the process of moving to a much larger facility — sharing the space with a yoga and cycling studio.
“Our goal is to not only move to the bigger space for room sake, but to be able to hold more events to raise more money for DT1 Charities,” said Meredith. “We have done well, but there is such a need for more.”