Decorah girls fund-raise for diabetes education

Released: 11/18/16

Kim Wolfort-Hammel, registered nurse at Winneshiek Medical Center, purchased a Blooms for Diabetes Education punch card in support of what she says is “a great cause.” Wolfort-Hammel is pictured with program creators Marissa Foels, age 17 (center), and Morgan Moen, age 11 (right).

17-year old Marissa Foels knew she wanted to do something for kids with diabetes. “I was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this year,” she says, “and I’ve realized how important it is to have a strong support system and to learn about the disease with others just like you.” Marissa, whose family owns The Country Garden Flowers and Gifts in Decorah, decided to fund-raise for kids with diabetes by selling flowers. She partnered with Morgan Moen who is 11-years old and also has type 1 diabetes. The pair created “Blooms for Diabetes Education” and approached the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation.

Holly Kanengieter, coordinator of the WMC Foundation says, “Marissa and Morgan are wonderful examples of the community coming together to help each other. Their program is inspiring and we are honored to be part of it.”

Until this year, Winneshiek Medical Center diabetes education programs were supported by donations from the Calmar Corvette Club. For nine years, the group came together for an annual ride and event, with proceeds dedicated to Diabetes Education at WMC. Their donations, with matching funds from Stanley Black and Decker in the later years, totaled $32,644. The summer of 2016 marked their final fund-raising drive.

Jean Irvin, registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at WMC says, “We are so thankful to the Calmar Corvette Club for their many years of support. Their gifts allowed us to expand our diabetes education opportunities to the public and provide an annual campership to Camp Herto Hollow, an Iowa camp for kids with diabetes.” Jean adds, “Marissa and Morgan are continuing the tradition for next year. Their support will allow us to send a youth to camp in 2017.”

How it works

To participate in Blooms for Diabetes Education, the public simply purchases a $20 punch card from The County Garden Flowers and Gifts or the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation Office by December 31, 2016. Then, beginning in January 2017, patrons can bring their punch card into the downtown Decorah store (113 W. Water Street) to receive a few fresh flower stems each month. Specific program guidelines are printed on the back of each punch card. $10 of each punch card purchase is dedicated to the WMC Foundation for camperships for youth to Camp Hertko Hollow.

Sales Begin

Friday, November 4 marked the first day of sales for Marissa and Morgan. Because school was not in session, the girls set up shop at Winneshiek Medical Center. Marissa says, “People were very positive. They told us it was a program that was easy to support.” Morgan adds, “It helps people be aware that type 1 diabetes is out there.” Kim Wolfort-Hammel, a registered nurse at Winneshiek Medical Center, was one of the first to purchase a punch card. She says, “It really tugs on my heart-strings when I hear of kids with diabetes. There is so much to learn and to deal with; I am glad to do my part and support such a great cause.”

For more information on diabetes care at Winneshiek Medical Center, call 563-387-3156. To partner with the WMC Foundation, call 563-387-3129 or visit

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