Friends and family members raising money for juvenile diabetes research
Katie Kojali has had diabetes since she was two years old. Her friend, Taylor Paine, was diagnosed earlier this year. On Oct. 16, they and their families will be a part of the Rockin Peeps, a team walking in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes at Centennial Park in Atlanta. The walk is three miles long but the Rockin Peeps are doing more than just the walk. They are attempting to raise $10,000 with donations for the walk but also with events like golf tournaments, yard sales, craft fairs and nights at local restaurants like Wings and Things or places for kids, like Monkey Joe’s.
“We’re trying to raise money to help people find a cure,” said Katie, 10. Taylor, 9, added they would be giving money to a scientist.
The girls did not know each other until they and their parents met earlier this year but a friendship blossomed from circumstances beyond their control. Katie has been on an insulin pump for several years, a piece of equipment that delivers a slow drip of insulin throughout the day, while Taylor, still new to diabetes, must prick her finger several times a day to test her levels and then respond with shots from syringes.
The girls have boundless energy and high spirits, laughing easily and talking excitedly about the upcoming events with their families and the kids at school.
“Some kids call it my iPod,” Katie said about her pump. Her mother, Kelly, added that some children, even Katie’s siblings, were worried at first about catching diabetes, which, of course, isn’t contagious.
Diabetes doesn’t prevent either girl from doing anything. Katie runs cross country and just has to put her pump back on after a run.
Katie and Taylor’s parents are involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because they would like to help find a cure. While the girls are happy and healthy, diabetes is something they have to manage day to day.
“It is often a balancing act that changes frequently because of their growth, diet and exercise, which changes every day,” said Taylor’s mom, Charlene.
There will be thousands of people walking at Centennial Park in October and many of them will know exactly what Katie and Taylor and their families go through. There are walks in every state to raise money for research and research related education. The JDRF web site states that thanks to dramatic research progress, a cure is now within reach.
For more information, visit www.jdrf.org.
Upcoming JDRF events:
Wings and Things/Fayetteville "Dinner on the Deck" Tuesday, Sept. 28 5-9 p.m.
Downtown Grill/Tyrone Wednesday, Oct. 6, 5 p.m. to close
Monkey Joe's/Newnan Thursday, Oct. 7 4-6 p.m.
The Rockin Peeps golf tournament will take place at Summergrove in Newnan on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m.