Celebrate the Life of Nick’s Father, Fight Juvenile Diabetes at a Baseball Game Friday

This Friday is the third annual Dan Jakusz Night with the Joliet Slammers.

Tickets are just $10, with the Slammers donating half of it to the JDRF.

My father was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (Type 1 diabetes) as a teenager. He managed the disease better than most. He was constantly in tune with his body, taking daily insulin shots (until the advent of the insulin pump) when his sugar was high, and having a constant supply of candy or other sugary foods on hand in case he dipped low. Candy orange slices seemed to be his favorite, although Snickers were also around a lot.

He remained active his entire life, which looking back on it, probably allowed him to be with us longer than if he wasn’t. He was a lifelong basketball player. His team from 1975 was inducted into the LHS hall of fame in 2016, something he was very proud of. He went on to play hoops at Joliet Junior College, and would play in tournaments and pick up games until his body wouldn’t let him any more. Then he played softball, golf and bowling until the Lord took him away.

He was my coach when I was young, which I look back on very fondly. As a matter of fact, shortly after his death in 2021, a friend of mine wrote this on social media under this photo, circa 1995.

Nick J.
Nick and Matt – So sorry to hear about your dad. I can remember basketball practice at the St. Matthew’s gym YEARS ago. Had no idea about the sport other than I loved the Bulls and Michael Jordan but he taught me about the game and how to be a part of the team. Most vividly, though, as a mostly uncoordinated and generally out-of-place kid that wanted to fit in, he didn’t write me off. Thanks for sharing this photo – pretty crazy how fast it all goes. Much love, guys.
Over the last two years, I’ve joyfully volunteered to coach my kids’ teams as well, making a promise to the kids on my team and to my dad that no kid, regardless of how uncoordinated or generally out of place they feel, would be written off.
That’s my dad. That’s how he taught me and my brother to live. Be kind. Be generous. Have fun. Work hard. Be enthusiastic in whatever you do. That’s why on Friday we will gather at a baseball game and drink some beer to celebrate his life and memory.
We’d love for you to come out and support the cause. You can hang out with me and my family if you’d like! You can remain in your seat and just enjoy the game if you’d like. It’s up to you!