Zach's Story

WBB founder, Zach Freeman, reflects not only on the 10 year journey the Bonanza has taken so many people on, but puts into perspective his 13+ years of living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

More than half…


No one said congratulations. No one said, “That’s amazing. I’m proud of you, Zach.” Even those closest to me were unaware of how significant the day was to me. It all just came and went, no celebration to be had. But, to be honest, this is what I expected to happen on Sunday, October 16th 2016. Unlike me, people aren’t thinking about it 24/7.


Take a minute to think about half of your life. Does the first half consist of better memories? What advice would you offer the younger version of yourself? Who is around you now that wasn’t there before and vice versa. What goals did you write down in high school or college that you’ve now accomplished? What’s left? Consider all the possible scenarios you laid out for yourself years ago.


When I think back to the first 13 years of my life, I never imagined injecting myself with a needle over 30,000 times. My dreams never played out with me almost dying from Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) on a Washington, D.C. metro at the age of 24. Pricking my finger over 40,000 times to check my blood sugar would have seemed unfathomable. I certainly never thought I’d be wondering around aimlessly looking for my car in Pittsburgh or Vermont, all because of having a low blood sugar. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have been praying for a kid whom I’ve never met to come out of a Type 1 diabetic coma. I also know I wouldn’t have counted on receiving news about that young man dying the very next day.


On October 16th 2016, I began living more than half of my life with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). At the age of 26, I have now lived with this lethal disease for over 13 years. At the 10th Annual - WIFFLE® BALL BONANZA on Saturday, July 8th 2017, I will have lived 5,014 days with T1D. The journey has been long and at times downright terrifying. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for it all and I believe it’s time to celebrate.


Without my diagnosis, we never would have created an event that has generated over $35,000 to help others battling T1D. Our partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh supporting those transitioning from adolescent into adult endocrinology care wouldn’t exist. Undoubtedly, an annual summer tradition that gathers over 500 friends and family members to celebrate life, all by playing Wiffle® Ball on a miniature version of Forbes Field, wouldn’t have crossed our minds. Thank God it did.


It is with great pleasure that I ask you to join us on Saturday, July 8th 2017 for the 10th ANNUAL - WIFFLE® BALL BONANZA to celebrate the tournament’s most significant year yet! Consider making a genuine impact in your second half of life and help us knock Type 1 Diabetes out of the park.




T1D...13 years and counting.
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