Team Connor raises funds for juvenile diabetes research


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SAYREVILLE – A fundraiser to assist a young boy from Sayreville and other children affected by diabetes has raised more than $1,100.

On Sept. 29, the Tap and Growler Bar in Sayreville collected donations for Team Connor and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and donated 25 cents from each drink sold to the organizations. Businesses F & J Italian Specialties, Rustoni’s Pizza and Culinary Classics provided food for the event.

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More than $1,100 was raised through the drink donations, donations for JDRF sneakers, canisters that donations were placed inside of and various other donations provided during the event.

Team Connor was established after Connor Leonard was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009 at the age of 2, according to his mother, Jillian Leonard. Initially thought to be suffering from a virus, Connor’s condition became apparent after he went into diabetic ketoacidosis, resulting in him being treated at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick.

It was during Connor’s time in the hospital that his parents came into contact with the JDRF, reaching out to New Jersey Metro and Rockland County Chapter, the organization’s local chapter in nearby Woodbridge.

Now 10, Connor is a fifth grade student at Our Lady of Victories in Sayreville. According to Jillian Leonard, Connor receives five shots of insulin and multiple blood tests during the day.

“My husband and I are so thankful that all of these local businesses are coming together for such a wonderful cause that is dear to our hearts,” Jillian Leonard said. “We love our town and we are so glad they are supporting our Type 1 warrior and all of the Type 1 warriors out there.

“It was so nice that so many people from Sayreville came out to support Team Connor,” she said. “We are so happy to be able to raise money for a cure, for my son and all of the Type 1 heroes out there. Every year we walk, I know we are one step closer to a cure.”

Following the fundraiser at the Tap and Growler Bar, JDRF will hold its annual 5K walk on Oct. 22 at Rutgers University, Cook Campus, 59 Biehl Road, New Brunswick, to continue to assist children affected by diabetes. Participants of the walk will check in at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 10 a.m.

“JDRF One Walk is a great opportunity to get family and friends together whether you have Type 1 diabetes, know someone who does or want to simply participate in an event that makes a huge impact on so many lives,” said Jess Backofen, executive director of JDRF New Jersey Metro and Rockland County Chapter.

JDRF is seeking $247,000 in donations; as of Oct. 5, $71,789 had been donated. Individuals may register for the walk and/or make donations at

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