PRESTONSBURG — Hundreds turned out for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Big Sandy Walk to Cure Diabetes” Saturday, at the walking track on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
The day was filled with activities for young and old, alike. Children were drawn to face-painting and hair-coloring, as well as hours of bouncy fun on equipment provided by East Kentucky Inflatables. Freddie “Munroe” Goble was also on hand to entertain the crown with magic tricks and humor. Bella Pooch brought “George” the standard poodle who was groomed and colored in pink to support his “team” and was sporting a cure ribbon on his fur.
Entertainment for this event was provided by Tyler Stephens, a Floyd County native and country music star, who also has type 1 diabetes and donated his time and proceeds from merchandise sales to JDRF. Also on hand were Miss Floyd County and Country Music Highway Road to Fame winner Holly Thompson and Miss Pre-Teen East Kentucky, Katelyn Crase. Allen Central High School Cheerleaders led the walk, and the walk families had the pleasure of having several area pageant winners walk alongside them for the cause. Crown winners were on hand for photos and included Isabella Murray, Little Miss East Kentucky & Little Miss Hope For A Cure; Olivia Wright, Jr Miss Floyd Co & Grand Supreme Miss Hope For A Cure; Paelyn Bevins, Tiny Miss Hope For A Cure; Teddi Gullett, Little Miss Hope For A Cure & Little Miss Floyd Co; Kaylee Blanton, Teen Miss Hope For A Cure; and Kaitlin Slone, 2013 Miss Hope For A Cure.
Q-95’s Justin Cook and K-Lite’s Adam Preece were on hand to interview participants and provide their listeners with up-to-the-minute coverage of the event. Photographers Allen Bolling and Libby Moore captured the occasion with photographs of the participants and the day’s events.
But while fun was in the air, the point of the walk was to raise money for diabetes research, and the event appears to be successful in that regard. While receipts were still being tallied Thursday, Paula Fairchild, advocacy chairman for JDRF, said donations from corporations, businesses and individual sponsors had raised over $11,600.
Awards were given to teams with the most walkers, the best team t-shirt, and the team that raised the most money. The teams were presented with personalized trophies courtesy of Castle’s Jewelry of Paintsville. Team Bailey, Team Teresa and Team Blake each raised over $1,500 per team for JDRF, and Team Blake had 66 people present and walking.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Its causes are not yet entirely understood, and its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is no way to prevent or cure the disease.
Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. As many as 3 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, and more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year.
Sponsors who contributed to the event include Coca Cola, Food City, Moe’s of Ashland, Penn Station Subs, Pepsi, McDowell Professional Pharmacy. MAC, Advanced Auto, Floyd County duo Sundy Best, and the Turtleman donated merchandise and personalized memorabilia to be raffled for donations to JDRF.
Representatives of various organizations and corporations were on hand to share information to participants, including Coventry Cares, Monumental, Sanofi US Diabetes, Lilly, Novo Nordisc, TrialNet, Sanofi/A1c Champions, and Fresenius.
Volunteers from Johnson Central and Sheldon Clark High Schools’ HOSA groups were on hand to assist in the day’s activities. The Kenucky chapter of JDRF also provided information to participants regarding type 1 diabetes, advocacy, support groups, mentoring and resources available to families affected by type 1 diabetes.
Prestonsburg City Fire Department, the City of Prestonsburg, and Mayor Jerry Fannin assisted with providing essential safety personnel for the event.
JDRF is still accepting donations to fund research for better treatments, prevention and a cure for type 1 diabetes. Businesses and individuals may donate securely online by visiting http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-KY/Chapter-Kentucky4233?fr_id=2481&pg=entry, or by contacting the Ketucky Chapter of JDRF by calling (502) 485-9397 or writing to 153 Thierman Lane Louisville, KY 40207. You may contact Paula Fairchild, Advocacy Team Chairman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research and their goal is to improve the lives of every person affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing the disease. Since its founding in 1970, JDRF, a charitable organization, has awarded more than $1.6 billion to T1D research, including $116 million in FY2011. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.
For more information about JDRF, or how you can become an advocate and help create a world without type 1 diabetes, visit www.jdrf.org.