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How a group of North Carolina students walked, played, and rallied their
way to a JDRF record.
Even the smallest feet can make a big impact. Anyone who’s ever seen or
heard a stampede of kids running toward the playground when it’s time
for recess knows this.
Just this spring, the 742 students of St.
Mark Catholic School in Huntersville, NC, made an even bigger impact by
participating in their very first JDRF Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes.
How a group of North Carolina students walked, played, and rallied their way to a JDRF record.
Even the smallest feet can make a big impact. Anyone who’s ever seen or heard a stampede of kids running toward the playground when it’s time for recess knows this.
Just this spring, the 742 students of St. Mark Catholic School in Huntersville, NC, made an even bigger impact by participating in their very first JDRF Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes. Over a fun and competitive two weeks, the St. Mark kids raised an astounding $60,716.15 for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and became the top fundraising school not only for the year, but in the entire history of the Kids Walk Program.
St. Mark Catholic School is no stranger to T1D. Six of its current students, who range from preschool to eighth grade, live with and manage the disease every day, checking their blood-sugar levels and administering insulin doses right along with lunchtime, gym class, and the dreaded pop quiz. Last fall, the school chose JDRF as the beneficiary of its yearly service-project program, through which the students, parents, and teachers plan a two-week fundraising extravaganza for a charitable organization.
With support from local celebrities and a flurry of events to keep the momentum up, the St. Mark kids became a fundraising, awareness-boosting powerhouse for T1D research. Stacey Simms, host of WBT News Talk Radio in Charlotte, NC, and a member of the board of directors of JDRF’s Greater Western Carolinas Chapter, served as emcee for the Kids Walk kick-off pep rally held in the St. Mark auditorium on February 27. The day received an extra injection of enthusiasm from football player Tony George, who was diagnosed with T1D as a teenager and went on to play professional football for the New England Patriots.
After the pep rally, the Penny War was on, and it was a photo finish to see which class could raise the most money in one week by collecting loose change. Not even counting all the quarters, dimes, and nickels, the students brought in 62,823 pennies, for a total haul of $3,397.33. It was enough loose change to fill (and overflow) a classroom aquarium. Next was Spirit Week. In the midst of celebrating themes such as Crazy Sock Day and Crazy Hair Day, students bought $1 tickets for a drawing for prizes including a skateboard, a bicycle, gift certificates, and an Apple iPod Touch (the drawing raised $3,647).
Raising money for much-needed research is an education in and of itself, but the St. Mark students learned much more than that through the JDRF Kids Walk Program. They learned what it’s like to live with T1D—an autoimmune disease that can strike anyone at any age and lasts a lifetime—and about the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But the program doesn’t stop there—students also honed their knowledge on the benefits of nutritious food and regular exercise.