By MARTHA CROFTS
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will host their 3rd annual “Utah County Walk to Cure Diabetes” this weekend to raise funds for research.
The walk will be tomorrow, Sept. 6, at SCERA Park on 701 S. State St. in Orem.
“The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the leading charitable funder and advocate of juvenile (type 1) diabetes research worldwide,” said Nikki Pinegar, media volunteer for the foundation.
The foundation is anticipating 2,000 walkers.
“Our goal is to raise $175,000 at this year’s walk,” Pinegar said. “Our corporate sponsor this year is Beneficial Life and their company goal is to raise $45,000, which is a huge contribution!”
Out of every dollar donated by every sponsor, 86 cents goes to actual research, which she said is an excellent number considering United Way and the American Red Cross have numbers like 46 cents and 49 cents out of every dollar, respectively.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is an international foundation founded in 1970 by parents of children with juvenile diabetes.
“As a result, volunteers have a personal connection to juvenile diabetes, which translates into an unrelenting focus on the needs of all people with diabetes and the commitment to finding a cure as soon as possible,” Pinegar said.
Utah Jazz’s Thurl Bailey will also be at the walk donating his time and talents.
Funds raised at the walk will be donated to research, which benefit the 20 million Americans who live with diabetes and its complications.
Some of the complications arising from diabetes are kidney failure, heart failure, blindness and nerve damage.
Insulin keeps people with diabetes alive, but it is not a cure and it does not prevent life-threatening complications.
Each day, 35 children are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Pinegar said.
Her son was diagnosed with diabetes almost two years ago when he was a 4-year-old.
“Our lives and our futures were drastically changed,” she said. “But, we feel sure that there will one day be a cure for diabetes, and we believe it is shortcoming.”
Chad and Melanie Parker, the Walk’s chairpersons, got involved with the foundation after their 14-month-old daughter was diagnosed. She is now 5 years old.
“It has just become a part of our life,” Melanie Parker said. “So, it’s a cause we obviously believe in.”
She said there have been fund-raising walks throughout Utah for years, but three years ago the foundation decided there were enough people interested to have a walk in Provo.
Many volunteers who come for Utah County’s walk are BYU students, Parker said. They help with games and registration.
The BYU accounting department also helps out with the foundation’s accounting needs.
Another group of volunteers are family teams. Parker said her cousins are one of the typical families who go door-to-door to help raise funds.
Another family team, Steve and Heidi Sobisky, send out letters to ask for donations.
Their son, Chandler, was recently chosen as a Utah representative to Washington to fight for more money to research for a cure.
“We need to be more aware and find a cure,” Heidi Sobisky said.
To register for the walk, go to jdrf.org or contact the Utah Chapter in Salt Lake City at 801-530-0660.