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


17-Year-Old Academy for Information Technology Student Dies; GoFundMe Page Established to Help Family

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Seventeen -year-old Fenov Pierre-Louis, a Roselle resident and student at Union County's Academy for Information Technology, lost his battle with stage 4 Nueroblastoma cancer this week.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. 

Diagnosed when he was a second grader, Fenov fought the disease for about half of his lifetime, ...

Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman, as county manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Businesses Report Thefts & More

July 18, 2018

July 11,2018 3:50 p.m.

A business located on the 100 block of Central Avenue reports being the victim of a theft. Unknown actor came into the business and removed $2,200.00 worth of property.

July 12, 2018 2:40 a.m.

Danny Burke, age 32, of Edison, NJ was arrested for driving while intoxicated pursuant a motor vehicle stop. Subject was arrested, processed and released to a ...

Drive for Autism Foundation to Hold 17th Annual Drive for Autism Golf Event

July 22, 2018

The Drive for Autism Foundation is pleased to announce that its annual golf event, Drive for Autism XVII will be held at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ on Sept. 17, 2018.

The Drive for Autism Golf Outing which has been held since 2002 has raised and distributed over $700,000 to local school programs.  Previous beneficiaries of grants were Morris Union Jointure Commission ...

Orange Cat Found in Westfield

Cat found Saturday in a storm drain on Watchung Fork. Text 908-821-7119 if you recognize him/her.

IRS Working on a New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season

The IRS plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season. The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version – would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ. 


This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Picking up the Pieces – The Benefits of Account Consolidation

Over a lifetime of investing we often have numerous accounts located at different financial firms.  Rarely are these accounts managed with a grand plan that takes into account all the individual pieces.   Account proliferation can be detrimental to your investment performance, increase your risk profile, and lighten your pocketbook.  

Account consolidation offers the ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

Livingston Council Votes on Ordinance to Prohibit Vape Shops

July 19, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Concern about the increased use of electronic cigarettes and other vapor products were among the reasons why the Livingston Township Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting “vape shops,” or any establishment that primarily sells “electronic devices, liquid nicotine or vapor products,” in the township’s retail commercial ...


Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more