Finding a supportive community after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes changed Eric Rimel’s life.
Now, 12 years later, the 22-year-old and his parents, Katie and Corey Rimel, use an established, annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help give diabetic children in the area the same hope and sense of belonging.
The 10th annual Spaghetti Dinner and Ticket Drop is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Decatur Diner in West Ocean City.
The event, sponsored by the Eastern Shore T1 Diabetic Support Foundation, donates its proceeds to fund summer sleep-away camp trips for children and college scholarships for high school students.
In the past, the event has been held at St. Peters Lutheran Church on 103rd Street, but with covid-19 canceling the 2020 fundraiser, this year the Rimels got the event back on track by making it a carry-out event.
"We’d have about 250 people in (the St. Peters church hall), having good times and raising money for a good cause,” Eric Rimel said. “This year we’ve decided to change it up a little bit, do it covid-style with the times we’re in. It’s going to be all carry-out. People can come in, look at the baskets, buy tickets and pick up their food. If they win, we’ll call them that night.”
The event includes a raffle for an assortment of large, themed baskets that will be up for grabs, with 25 raffle tickets available for $20.
Following the event, a silent auction will be held on the foundation’s Facebook page starting the week of Oct. 18. Some of the items up for grabs in the raffle baskets and silent auction include Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football Team tickets, jewelry, artwork and a camping trip to Chincoteague, Virginia.
All in all about 15 items will be up for auction, staggered throughout the week, stretching the entire fundraiser to covering nearly two weeks, Katie Rimel said.
The carry-out spaghetti dinner runs from 4-7 p.m, divided into three, one-hour pick-up time slots.
“When you pre-purchase a ticket, we ask you to pick a time so we can control the flow of people in and out,” Katie Rimel said. “There are a lot of people who are vaccinated, they’re fine with a group setting, but they’re still a lot of people who don’t want to do group settings. We’re trying to do it a little differently so we can still have the spaghetti dinner, we can still have the basket option that we’re very known for and they can still enjoy their dinner."
The idea for the spaghetti dinner came to the Rimels a year after their son’s diagnosis. Another local family told them about Camp Possibilities, a sleep-away camp for diabetic children run out of Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, Maryland.
Katie Rimel said that the price for the camp was out of the family’s range and the other family’s advice was to look into fundraising.
Since then, the event has raised around $100,000 to send children to Camp Possibilities and other diabetic-friendly camps.
“Diabetes is never going to go away,” Katie Rimel said. “I know, from a parent’s standpoint, I’m not alone in this fight with diabetes. There are a lot of families down here who are dealing with it. I want those parents to know they’re not alone, that their kids can have friends by bringing them together in this group and being able to send them to camp.”
The value on the people this fundraiser serves can’t be measured, Eric Rimel said.
“In a way, it actually saved my life,” he said. “I have many times felt down and depressed like I was alone in the world. But through the camp, I’ve developed a support system and I want other kids going through what I’ve gone through to be able to have the same experiences and not feel alone.”
For more information, visit https://est1d.org or call 410-251-4793.