The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is on a mission to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, develop better treatments for its patients, and prevent the disease from disrupting their lives. It is a volunteer-run organization that is helping to educate people and raise awareness about this life-altering disease. The JDRF holds charitable walks in all 50 states, where people are encouraged to create teams and raise money. On September 22nd, the JDRF is inviting you to get involved in the annual Traverse City Walk. This year, Traverse City’s JDRF Walk will be taking place in Sunset Park, just off M37, from 8:30am – 10:00am. It is a 2.5 mile walk and is hosted by the Michigan Great Lakes West Chapter.
An estimated 3 million Americans have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes; yet many of us will never be directly affected by this disease. Megan Hall was not as fortunate. Just before Megan’s 29th birthday, her daughter came down with flu-like symptoms. After the “flu” cleared up, Hall’s daughter was still left feeling drained of energy and unable to move from the couch. Hall insisted upon more tests, which ultimately lead to her daughter’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. Hall’s daughter will have to spend her whole life with this incurable disease, regulating blood sugar, and dealing with 6-10 “finger pricks” each day. The cost of supplies for simply maintaining daily health is astronomical, with a $7,000 insulin pump just for starters.
Soon after her daughter’s diagnosis, Hall became involved with the JDRF. Through the Foundation, she sought information on the disease and hoped to connect with other families experiencing the same emotional and physical strain. Hall now chairs the board of the Traverse City committee, where she helps to raise about $80,000 each year from family walk teams and corporate sponsors. “We are a pretty small, all-volunteer committee, consisting of about 10,” she began, “All of us have full time jobs and lives with a diabetic in the family, just doing what we can to make a difference.”
Each year, the Traverse City JDRF Walk takes place at the end of September. If Traverse City is not within your vicinity, there is a list of JDRF Walks all over the United States, and more specifically, throughout Michigan. The website also offers a place to check out volunteer options and to donate, and plenty of information to answer any questions you may have. Check out the JDRF Walk’s Traverse City Facebook page to see photos from previous years, and to get more information regarding this year’s walk. It’s definitely not too late to get involved this year, so swing by on Saturday to walk, donate, and support a great cause. If you have specific questions regarding the Traverse City JDRF Walk, feel free to email Megan Hall directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Hamilton, Feature Writer