Health & Wellness

Westfield Mom Helps Raise $400K for Juvenile Diabetes

Westfield mom Lynel Katz co-chairs the Foundation for Diabetes Research’s annual Harvest for Hope.

WESTFIELD, NJ –  Westfield mom Lynel Katz has helped raise more than $400,000 for diabetes research in the last three years. Katz co-chairs the Foundation for Diabetes Research’s annual Harvest for Hope in support of her children, two of three of whom have Type 1 diabetes. 

A few years ago, Katz was asked to co-chair the event, which she had already been donating to. She was attracted to FDR, an organization created by people in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, because it was more local and smaller and “I felt like I could make a bigger impact,” she said. 

Now in its 18th year, this year’s event it took place Oct. 26 at The Grove in Cedar Grove. It included a silent auction, dinner and a raffle, but the main attraction was the fashion show starring children with Type 1 diabetes. 

Sign Up for E-News

They are able to “become the stars of the night,” said Katz, who’s chaired the past three events. “We basically celebrate them and all that they do in a day and a year.” 

The fashion show is the organization’s most successful fundraiser, bringing in about 500 people and $160,000 each year. This is generated from private donations mainly from families, but Katz hopes to utilize the untapped source of corporate funds in the next few years to garner more financial support.

Children with diabetes find participating in the fashion show empowering, including Katz's daughter Ella.

“Ella says the fashion show is the best part of having diabetes,” Katz said.

When Ella started showing symptoms, such as dehydration and heavy breathing as a 1-year-old, Katz brought her to a slew of doctors, all of whom diagnosed her with different ailments and viruses. Ultimately, a trip to the emergency room resulted in Ella’s Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

“We basically had to learn how to become nurses and doctors,” Katz said of the experience. “We had to learn carb counting. We had to buy a scale. We did everything you could do to take care of a baby with diabetes.” 

Later, Katz’s son, Asher, was also diagnosed with diabetes. So, Katz stopped working. “This is a full time job,” she said. It’s especially demanding for her children.

Each child participating in the fashion show had a photo in the program with a quote. Ella’s reads, “In 8 years I have pricked my finger 26,000 times. I have changed my pump at least 1,000 times.”

“Anyone living with this disease is a superhero,” Katz says. “Twenty-four hours, seven days a week of constant moderating and adjusting, carb counting, exercising, taking insulin … not to look good, but to stay alive.” 

Ella’s diagnosis was not the beginning of Katz’s confrontation with diabetes. Her sister, Hilari Pugliese, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12, when Katz was 9. Katz helped her sister become part of early treatment of diabetes. 

Pugliese participated in numerous experimental studies in which Katz’s blood sugar and vitals were essential to the results. She participated in family studies and was involved with research for a long time, with Pugliese being one of the first 800 recipients of the insulin pump. 

Katz said her early and continued involvement makes her work in the FDR that much more meaningful to her. She said she aims to stay informed on the medical and scientific aspects of diabetes and its research. She said she is also devoted to seeing where the money raised goes and how it will help in the search for a cure.

“This small organization is truly interested in finding researchers and funding research that is specifically aimed at ... one day finding a cure,” she said. “Insulin is their lifeline and that’s great ... but we want these kids to just live a life. When you live with it daily, you’re like, ‘Enough already.’”

Both Katz’s family and the foundation agree her role is invaluable in their fight against diabetes. 

“Her quest for a cure embodies the way she lives her life,” Pugliese said. “With selfless giving, positivity, creativity, compassion and authenticity.”

Katz’s co-chair, Kyle Wiseholtz, agrees. 

“She is such a hardworking, motivated person [and] has the biggest heart of anyone I know,” he said. “She has such a good mind for helping the organization ... and is extremely dedicated to the cause.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


NJ Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Jerry Green May 7

April 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Monday for New Jersey flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on the day of the upcoming General Assembly session, scheduled for May 7, in memory of Assemblyman Jerry Green, former chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, who died last week.

On Thursday, Governor Murphy had said, ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on April 24, 2018

April 26, 2018

Board President Gretchan Ohlig recognized Westfield High School senior Greta Frontero as 2018 New Jersey High School Journalist of the Year and winner of the 2018 Bernard Kilgore Memorial Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship award from the New Jersey Press Foundation. Ms. Ohlig praised Ms. Frontero for her investigative reporting for Hi’s Eye, the school newspaper, and presented a ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, April 26, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, April 27, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Two Reported Shopliftings & More

April 25, 2018

April 19, 2018 9:36 a.m.

Officer McCarthy arrested Paul S. Lee, age 36, of Ridgewood, NJ, at Westfield Police Department headquarters on the strength of an outstanding Westfield warrant in the amount of $89. Subject was processed and released after posting bail.


April 19, 2018 12:01 p.m.

A resident of Central Avenue reported being the victim of identity theft. Unknown actor(s) ...

Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

April 25, 2018

Morristown Medical Center’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center presents “Protecting Your Colorectal Health” on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway. Admission is free.

This popular, educational program presents an opportunity to hear up-to-date presentations from leading ...

Plan for a Better Year

You survived another year’s tax filing — was the outcome what you expected? After looking at the results of this last year, and in light of the recent tax changes for this year, if you're concerned about getting the best possible results, why not reach out to me so we can take a look at planning possibilities together?


Call 908-935 -0181 and we'll get ...

Ways to Increase Your Home's Equity

Sometimes you forget and don’t realize your home provides so much to your life. It brings along with it your dreams of the future, shelter to you and your family, a way to provide a better lifestyle, a better commute, a neighborhood, schools, community involvement and recreational facilities. But it also provides a way to save for the future. It does this by allowing you to build your ...

Westfield Public Schools Welcomes Community to Auditorium Open Houses

Two years ago, voters in Westfield approved a bond referendum to renovate the aging auditoriums in Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools. Major aspects of the renovations include new seating and flooring, electrical and lighting upgrades, state-of-the-art sound systems, acoustical treatments and air conditioning.

On April 11 and 12, students, staff, families and other members of the ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

New DMV Office To Open in South Plainfield May 14

April 26, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — The new Department of Motor Vehicles Office in South Plainfield is scheduled to open May 14 at 5000 Hadley Road.

Mayor Anesh received the official notification from B. Sue Fulton, the newly sworn director of the state DMV announcing the opening.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped make this become a reality,"Anesh said. "This is a ...