Jeremy Canipe was seven years old when he received what he thought was a “death sentence.”
“The symptoms were there,” he recalls, “and when the doctor diagnosed me in 1984 with Type 1 diabetes and began to lay out my future, I became very scared.”
Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Treatment helps, but it cannot be cured.
“I felt my mind was poisoned with a bleak outlook on the future. By the time I was a teenager, the fear of an early and painful death paralyzed me. I didn’t want to become a burden to my family. I became depressed and felt there was no hope,” Canipe remembers.
As he aged and learned how to manage his disease, the fear subsided. But the disease still reminded him of his limitations when he was denied entry into the military or the opportunity to become a state highway patrolman. His desire to serve others led him to a career with the North Carolina prison system.
“The Lord took my blinders off and I laid down my anger and bitterness in 2000,” he says. “I gave my life, and my disease, over to Him and the Lord began to shape me and mold me for Himself. My hopelessness was replaced by hope.”
Regular church attendance, serving as a youth Bible study teacher, and helping with summer vacation Bible school opened his heart to being used by the Lord in other ways.
“It became a matter of prayer,” Canipe asserts. “When the opportunity to help the children at Broyhill Home opened, I knew it was ‘my lane’ and I took it.”
Since 2016, Canipe, his wife Robin and family, fellow church members, other friends, and co-workers have raised more than $40,000 to purchase Easter baskets, numerous recreational items such as bicycles and basketball goals, cottage items such as bedding, pots, pans, and outdoor gas grills, Christmas gifts for children, and a trip to Dollywood for the children and staff at Broyhill Home in Clyde.
“It was an easy decision to get involved and help,” he says. “You never have to wonder if it is the will of God when it comes to helping children. The only question is how much more does He want you to do.”
At 42, Canipe has great empathy for children who face hopeless times. He knows that Jesus is the answer to finding purpose and is open to sharing his story whenever possible.
“God does it all,” Canipe assures. “When you let God and see the magnitude of what He does, you learn that you are not capable of anything. It is every bit Him.”
Because of his faithfulness to the Lord and his service to children living at Baptist Children’s Homes, Canipe was named the 2019 Friends of Children Award recipient at last year’s Western Area Conference on September 5.
“It was an honor,” he says. “But there are so many who make this happen. It is them, it is for the children, and it’s all for God’s glory.”
There are many ways you can be involved with Baptist Children's Homes! Learn more about the opportunities available at www.bchfamily.org/involved