City / News

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation rally Bakersfield citizens to walk for a cure

Jessica Martinez
Staff Writer

 The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes was held the morning of Nov. 16 at Yokuts Park in Bakersfield by the Central Valley chapter of the organization.

JDRF’s website defines Type 1 Diabetes as “an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin—a hormone essential to the ability to get energy from food. It strikes both children and adults suddenly and changes life as they know it forever. T1D causes lifelong dependence on injected or pumped insulin and carries the constant threat of complications. T1D cannot be prevented and there is no cure.”

Allison Perkins-Thomas said, “Our mission is to fundraise for a cure, and to provide support to our local families in the Central Valley.”

Money raised through JDRF is used to fund Type 1 Diabetes research; the goal is to ultimately eliminate T1D. With a goal of $185,000, the local chapter nearly reached the halfway mark by raising a total of $86,994.32 at the end of the event.

Walkers from our local community braved the chilly autumn temperature to support this important cause. Teams were greeted upon arrival by Bakersfield royalty: Jennifer Maddern, Mrs. Bakersfield 2013, Brittany Louey, Miss Teen Bakersfield 2013 and Jamie Swetalla, Miss Bakersfield 2013 and California State University, Bakersfield alumna. Other appearances included the local Army ROTC, high school cheerleaders, the Condors’s mascot, the Chick-fil-A cow, and a group dressed as characters from “Star Wars.”  The event also provided breakfast and lunch for walkers, a face painting booth, bounce houses, informational resources about T1D, and music.

As for future fundraising events for JDRF, Larry Meisner said, “There’s a wine event. It’s another opportunity for individuals within the Bakersfield community to gather and raise money for JDRF and raise awareness. That’s coming along in the spring of the next calendar year.”

Volunteers were out since 4:30 AM, setting up for this wonderful event, and the outcome couldn’t have been better; there was a great turnout.

Nathan McCusker said, “I just want to thank everybody who came out and made such a wonderful event, planned by volunteers from the community for the community. It’s growing people-wise every year. We can’t emphasize enough the value of volunteers and the value of the community. We can’t do this with staff alone: it’s virtually impossible. The more volunteers we have, the more advances we make. It’s a priceless asset to JDRF.”

JDRF will continue to fundraise through February. To make a donation, become a volunteer, or simply learn more about JDRF and its mission, visit http://www.jdrf.org.

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