Totally Hogsome. ~ Missy Moran Capestrain

Leslie Adams is not your typical wife, mother, and pool player. Also she is a small business owner (“Blossoms & Memories,” Cerro Gordo, six years,) and co-chairperson for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) “Kiss a Pig Gala” (Springfield, IL, 5 years).

In her business, Leslie transforms silk, fresh, and even dried flowers into mementos such as bracelets, necklaces rosaries and keychains. Customers entrust her with flowers from special events such as the birth of a child, prom, wedding, funeral, or whatever event one may deem personally valuable. Leslie Adams can do it and do it very well, short or long distance. She can be found on Facebook, at her website, or directly phone her business at 217-791-7510.

In her down time between work, wife, mother, and playing pool, Leslie Adams is a philanthropist of sorts, raising funds for a major disease — one that is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States: Diabetes.

This disease that is running rampant here in the U.S. consists of two separate and distinct classifications: Type I, a genetic autoimmune disease formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes. While children certainly can be in this group, more and more adults are being diagnosed with this type, while more and more children fall under Type II. Type I is not caused by heredity (genetics, per se), but men and women alike can carry a predisposition for it, thus having children who may or may not develop Type I, but certainly will then be carriers of the gene, passing it onto their children who may or may not develop Type I, and so on, and so on.

Type II Diabetes is the one which usually comes to mind when speaking of the fast growing illness in the United States — as well as talks involving corn syrup permeating many, many foods on our grocery shelves — appears in children adults alike and is completely preventable. Overall, diabetes can lead to death in the form of heart attack, complications during surgery, and slow healing time of wounds. This Type is not genetic, but rather caused by environmental factors, namely diet.

A healthy diet low in carbohydrates and sugars as well as high in fruits vegetables along with regular exercise are very important factors in both Type I and Type II, but causal in Type II.

Both factors can help to prevent and control the disease. If diet & exercise have not controlled it, insulin may have to be used. In keeping with the “hog” in the tournament name, insulin, originally, was harvested from the pancreas of pigs… here little piggy, piggy, piggy…

Interest in fundraising for the ADA came to Leslie because she hoped to somehow make money that might help her nephew, Jack, who is diabetic. He does not play pool as do relatives Leslie, her husband, Mike, and her teenage son, Colton. Together they have played on eight ball or nine ball leagues, as well as their quite easily accessible, (as in the set up in their dining room accessible) three and a half by seven foot pool table.

Outnumbered by the number of males in the family who play pool, Leslie, admittedly, is the lesser player of the three.

Nevertheless, she continues to participate in this beloved family time. All three of them play with cues made by a Mike Durbin of Sullivan.

“Totally Hogsome Tournaments” is the name of Leslie’s choice of moneymakers. It is her tournament of choice to raise money for the ADA. Her third Totally Hogsome is upcoming and will be hosted by Starship Billiards, Decatur, Illinois. Eight Ball is the game and it is played on bar box tables.

Colton and his best friend, Timmy Bly, will be defending their First Place title from last year. APA Referee, Jerry Brown, helps with the tournament as needed. Entry fee is $60 per three person team, no Calcutta.

Thus far, monies awarded to those placing in her tournaments have been donated back to the local ADA. The funds that are raised stay local to support research, education and a wonderful camp, “Camp Granada”: a one week camping experience for children with Diabetes who otherwise probably would never enjoy such a parentless camp experience, where they indulge in healthy foods just have a downright fantastic camping adventure.

One nurse is in every cabin and is available to care for any medical event that may occur. Parents and caretakers can sit back, relax, breathe easily and with confidence that their children will be well cared for and having a “Totally Awesome” total blast at camp, “Just like other kids at school!”

Camp Granada is normalizing — children “get to do” all of the camp activities as their nondiabetic friends. It will be these excited Camp Granada campers who will be the camp storytellers upon returning to school after summer break.

It is a win win for everybody involved, but mostly for the children.

The joy both the parents and children experience cannot be put into words. Mostly it is worn on their faces. The only down side, if it can be deemed such, is that the children never want to leave.

Accompanied by tearful hugs and goodbyes getting them into the car to go home, this is when folks know Camp Granada has been a huge success. That, as well as the children talking about next year while this year is still in process.

Witnessing this is indescribably heartwarming. It’s unfortunate that all diabetic children are not able to make new friends, giggle, frolic, make s’mores, and last but not least, stay up way past lights out (sometimes under the blankets with flashlights shining,) counselors listening to hushed, muffled from under the blankets “Sh, shhh, shushes, s/he(camp counselor) is going to hear us; we’re gonna get in trouble, shhhhh!” which has come a little too loudly and a little too late as the counselor once again reminds that “Lights out was called fifteen minutes ago!” Well, hopefully children experience all of this plus learn a little something about camping, “just like the other kids.”

At the end of the designated year of fundraisers, in spring, ADA puts on a very different and cool celebration: the “Kiss a Pig Gala,” where all of the monies of each person running the fundraisers are counted.

The person who has made the most money through his/her own hard work wins the grand prize kissing a baby pig under its nose.

Now isn’t that “Totally Awesome”? A race to kiss a pig? A race to kiss a pig?? I think Arnold Ziffel certainly would approve, don’t you?

If you are not near the Springfield event to compete in Leslie’s fundraiser, but still would like to donate to this particular ADA, Kiss a Pig, or Camp Granada, to add to the over $80,000 Leslie has raised, please contact Leslie Kelley Adams via Facebook.

If one wishes to donate in his/her own community, donations may be sent to their local ADA chapter. The ADA gladly welcomes and accepts tournaments of your choice of sport, not only pool, as well as auctions, business sponsorship, and basically anything that is ethical and legal. Again, any and all information can be found on The American Diabetes Association website.

Hopefully, this article has moved and hit home for some readers. Pool has been used to raise money for good works which now include “Totally Hogsome” for Diabetes. As with any other disease, too much money never can be donated; too much time never can be donated.

The “Totally Awesome” Camp Granada might be the perfect place to begin. Together we can make great strides through research of the disease to deeply and positively affect the lives of children who live with it daily.

Time for lunch, a ham sandwich maybe… BLT? Ha ha, snort, snort. Good luck in all of your fundraising endeavors, Leslie Adams. You’ve worked very hard and have done a “Totally Awesome” job for The American Diabetes Association. Thank you!

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