Thousands of walkers joined the Andring family of Brighton at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Dexter/Ann Arbor Walk to Cure Diabetes
The Andrings, along with their friends and family, walk with the hope to find a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D), the disease which both 7-year-old Austin and 5-year-old Cody were diagnosed with at very young ages.
Held at Hudson Mills Metro Park in Dexter, the event funds research to help the more that 80 people that are diagnosed with T1D each day-with half of those cases being children.
Similar walks take place throughout the country to raise millions of dollars to fight the disease.
Last year teams participating in the Ann Arbor Walk raised over $700,000. This year, the expected amount to be donated by Michigan walkers is over $1.65 million.
The donations are all thanks to the hard work and effort like Saline resident Elizabeth Caswell’s team 3 Caz 4 a Cure who raised almost $35,000 this year for T1D. Over the course of seven years, Caswell has raised $100,000 to help the cause, which also affects her husband and son two sons.
Dexter resident Jenny Rasmussen and her team Ryan’s Reason have raised nearly $80,000 over a seven year span. Rasmussen walk for her son Ryan, age 9.
Rose Ann Reynolds from Team Blue Eyes know how it feels to have someone you love be affected with TID. Her son, Jackson, was diagnosed when he was just a baby.
“It’s great to see everyone come together,” she said.
The came together from near and far.
Hannah’s Hero’s came from Dayton, Ohio to join the walk with family and friends that live in the area. Hannah was diagnosed when she was just 15 months old. Her mother Laurie Hurlburt was happy to accept the challenge and raise money for the cause. “
The groups that walk together are great every year,” Hurlburt said.
She also credited Hannah with raising a lot of the money to be donated. Hulbert said that it’s tough for her daughter to understand the disease, and has begun to ask tough questions like if someday she will be cured.
Kim Shaffer and her family came from Canton to participate in the walk. Their Team, "Lily’s Cloudies" was named after a stuffed animal Lily received from her grandmother. Lily, who was diagnosed when she was just 18 months old, was presented a quilt after the walk that her grandmother made showcasing all the fundraising events she has participated in.
Some teams have just recently joined the cause, but plan continue their work.
Joanne Repicky said this was her first walk, but she definitely plans to come back next year. Her granddaughter Emily was diagnosed at 11. Repicky, who traveled from Mt. Pleasant credits Emily’s strength and ability to bring people together for such a good cause.
Emily said she participates in the walk to help others too. “I want to be a part of this because a lot of people have diabetes,” she said. “I like how everyone is here together for the same reason.”
Emily also said she is amazed her team, “Emily’s Ewoks” have received such great support from monetary donations to shoes, pants and custom made shirts donated by Adidas.
Repicky said all this effort is just part of the hard work those affected with T1D go through each day. Individuals afflicted with T1D often have to give themselves injections, and prick their fingers multiple times each day to check blood sugar levels.
Ann Scharhorst who traveled from Dearborn Heights agrees with Repicky. She came to walk with ger daughters team, Emily’s Enterprise. Diagnosed just months ago, Scharhorst said dealing with T1D each day takes great strength, courage and responsibility on Emily’s part.
Although the event is fun for many, it’s no fun living with T1D.
“Anna’s Bannanas” was one of the top fundraising teams and raised almost $7,000. Anna said she enjoys the walk, but wish it wasn't necessary.
“It’s pretty cool having everyone come together,” she said. “What’s not cool is taking insulin or having to prick your finger everyday.”