Students Organize Team For Diabetes Walkathon

Two PA students are attempting to fight juvenile diabetes with their feet. Lydia Dallett ‘08 and Kate Farrell ‘08 have organized a team of Andover students to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. The walk will take place next Sunday, October 15, 2006 at Six Flags New England. Although the walk at Six Flags New England has occurred in past years, this is the first time that PA will send a team. Farrell’s own experience with type 1 diabetes motivated her to create a team. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age ten after spending two weeks in the hospital.  She had to learn how to administer her own insulin shots and must do so multiple times a day. After living with the condition for over a year, Kate decided to contribute to the search for diabetes cure. She traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress to advocate for increased funding for diabetes and stem cell research. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for juvenile diabetes. The organization raises money at numerous events around the world, donating its funds directly to diabetes research. Each year, JDRF holds over 200 walks around the United States. The walks feature music, food, and other forms of entertainment. In the past, some walks have hosted over 500,000 people. The walk at Six Flags will include the use of park facilities. “If you know anyone who has any form of diabetes, you would understand just how important this walk is. I am totally excited about our team,” Dallett said. Juvenile or type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune response that destroys beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells are responsible for producing insulin; therefore, a person with juvenile diabetes loses the ability to properly digest sugar. Juvenile diabetes, despite its misleading name, is not limited to children but also develops in adults. People with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar four to six times a day. They also must either inject themselves with four or five shots of insulin a day or wear an insulin pump, which automatically injects the insulin at set intervals. Almost three million Americans have type 1 diabetes, which can eventually cause heart disease, strokes, blindness and kidney failure. Anyone who raises $50 or more in sponsorship will also get free admission to the Six Flags amusement park for the rest of the day. All of the proceeds from the walk will go to JDRF.