This post is LONG overdue but I can assure you that the efforts of many and the genuine sense of love and caring that we felt on May 10th will NOT be forgotten. I am blaming the late post on the end of the year rush and a hectic family schedule…my appologies to all involved that it has taken me SO very long to write this. Please know that my gratitude could not be more heartfelt.
On May 10th, Fawn Area Elementary held a JDRF Kids Walk. The JDRF Kids Walk is an educational in-school fundraising program with 2 goals: 1) to educate school children about type 1 and type 2 diabetes and 2) to provide students with the opportunity to raise money to help fund research for type 1 diabetes. It is truly a chance for kids to help other kids.
In the months after Corinne’s diagnosis, our school nurse expressed an interest in bringing the JDRF Kids Walk to Fawn Area Elementary. She encouraged Corinne to speak in class about type 1 diabetes in an effort to educate her schoolmates. As Corinne shared her experiences, many students expressed compassion and empathy for the daily challenges of living with diabetes. Our nurse recognized that a walk would be the perfect way to give the students an outlet to demonstrate how much they cared and also a chance to make a positive difference for Corinne and other type 1 diabetics by helping to raise money for a cure.
In April, JDRF came to the school for an assembly to kick off the event, as well as to discuss type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. Corinne had a chance to share in front of the school about her diagnosis and to answer question about type 1 diabetes. Following the assembly, information was sent home about Corinne and another child in the school who also has type 1 diabetes, along with information about fundraising and general information about JDRF.
With the walk falling at the end of a busy school year, I was careful not to have high expectations. Nonetheless, the event was still the perfect way for Corinne’s fellow students to show their support and a great opportunity to educate kids about type 1 diabetes.
On the afternoon of the walk, I arrived a little early to help out. I was immediately impressed with the highly organized stations and activities that our nurse and school staff had set up. There was a disco station, an obstacle course, a station staffed with volunteers from Fawn Grove Fire and Ambulance Company, a space for family members with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to meet and greet one another, and a station for water and Rita’s Italian Ice.
Corinne and a fellow T1D schoolmate had a chance to cut the rope to begin the walk. It felt like a celebration of sorts with the whole school cheering them on. Having the walk at the close of her fourth grade year seemed fitting. As Corinne walked the track, she was surrounded by classmates and school staff who had supported her through her diagnosis, transition from injections to insulin pump therapy, and as she received her diabetic alert dog, Sugar.
As the kids walked and checked out the cool stations that scattered the school lawn, the fundraising envelopes were collected. In the end, it was not only the students who raised money, but staff members as well. We were especially touched by donations raised and collected by the middle school gym teacher, my husband’s former basketball coach. Community members, schoolmates, teachers and staff, led by our AMAZING school nurse…came together to help US fight diabetes!
Some days our battle against diabetes feels overwhelming, lonely and even hopeless but on May 10th we were reminded once again that we are NOT alone. So many people truly care and want to help. The JDRF Kids Walk served as a HUGE reminder of that during a time when Corinne and I were both struggling every day to keep diabetes in perspective.
When the walk drew to a close, I said a tearful and heartfelt thank you to our nurse and loaded up my car with some of Corinne’s girlfriends who were coming over to spend the night and help us celebrate her 10th birthday. The event couldn’t have been more successful and Corinne was in high spirits as we began her birthday weekend.
A week or so later when all of the money had been counted, our school nurse gave us some pretty shocking news. Not only did we reach the $1000 mark, which was the amount JDRF projected for a school our size…the staff and students raised a whopping…$4,342.59. Levi’s first grade class raise the most money of all the grades in the school and Corinne’s home room was the top fundraising class in her grade. We were truly in awe of the fundraising efforts of so many people to help fund research for a cure for diabetes.
Most importantly the walk was a BEAUTIFUL show of support for Corinne and our family. It was a touching reminder that we are surrounded by family, friends and a community that cares. Sometimes managing a chronic condition like type 1 diabetes can become overwhelming. May 10th offered us a ray of hope that chased away the dark clouds of anxiety, fear, and depression that sometimes threaten our days.
We owe a huge thank you to Corinne’s teacher, Mrs. Stubanas, everyone at Fawn Area Elementary, Fawn Grove Fire and Ambulance Company, Mr. Rudisill and the many volunteers who helped to make the day a success! We owe a VERY special thank you to Mrs. Riale for organizing and coordinating the entire event! We will be forever grateful.