October 21, 2013

Walking for a cure - By Jim Beers

The Windham High School Leo Club sponsored a Walk to Cure Diabetes at the high school Sunday morning. The crisp, fall air with overcast skies made for perfect conditions as the walk got underway shortly after 9 a.m. Beginning on the school track, nearly 60 walkers of all ages registered to make the 3-mile trek in hopes of raising as much funds as they could for a cure of type 1 Diabetes, (T1D). With all proceeds going to JDRF, (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), Leo Club adviser Karen Petcher spoke before the walk: "We, (the Leo Club), are very excited as this is the first time doing something like this for diabetes. We have a club member who has diabetes and of course my son also, so this is very near and dear to our hearts." As the walk began, Petcher added, "Of course I wish there were more here, but it's a start. More people need to be made aware of T1D, and its wide range of symptoms, it has so many variables." 

JDRF is a major charitable organization dedicated to funding T1D Research. The goal at JDRF is simple: "To progressively remove the impact of T1D from people's lives until we achieve a world withOUT T1D." Headquartered in New York City, JDRF has numerous Chapters and branches throughout the United States, with eight international affiliates as well. Sponsoring more than $530 million in scientific research in 17 countries, JDRF is the leader in the fight against this disease. In 2012 alone, JDRF provided more than $110 million to T1D research. JDRF has two national fundraising events in the U.S. that are open to public participation: The Walk to Cure Diabetes, and the Ride to Cure Diabetes. JDRF walks are held at over 200 locations across the country and are managed by local JDRF chapters. Participants can walk as individuals, or join a team, (which can be started by a family, company or any group of people). Leo club president, Alexandria Petcher, who is a senior at Windham High School and the daughter of Karen Petcher, added, "The club is a good opportunity to do things like this within the community. T1D is in my family so it’s great to be able to help." Petcher plans to attend college in the south and pursue a law degree after high school. 

The Leo Club is a service group of Windham High School that focuses on the community. A youth version of the Lions Club, the Leo Club has been involved in such charities as the Ronald McDonald House, Relay for Life, Stuff the Bus, blood drives, fuel assistance, clothing drives, kids activities and now raising money for blindness and Diabetes. 

The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes program has raised over $1 billion since 1992, and has more than 600,000 participants a year. Today with this walk, the local community added to those numbers with hopes for more events like this in the future. 

"Awareness is the key, and it’s great to see so many people come out and show the love and support this event needs. We really appreciate that," said Karen with a smile. If you missed the walk and would like to help, please contact Karen at Windham High School, or go to www.jdrf.org.

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