Walker Achievement Spotlights

2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes Spotlight

Below, we invite you to read about Victoria’s Victory Team, a family team that began supporting JDRF after the recent diagnosis of their daughter; and Alecia’s Stem Cells, a dedicated family team that has been involved and expanded for over 11 years. We thank each team for submitting these inspiring stories for our spotlight.

To learn more about JDRF and to register for the Walk to Cure Diabetes, please visit walk.jdrf.org

Victoria’s Victory Team
Submitted by Jeanne Ferguson

My 9 year old daughter, Victoria, was diagnosed 7 months ago with type one diabetes (T1D). We heard about JDRF while in the hospital. They have provided us with so much help as we adjusted to living with T1D. I even attended a meeting through JDRF and got to meet other parents whose children were also recently diagnosed. I am extremely grateful to JDRF for all the work they do in making living with T1D more manageable and how they relentlessly work to a cure each and everyday.

Since this was our first time participating in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, we had many questions which were always answered quickly and pleasantly. Victoria was very involved in the planning and enjoyed it very much. She helped design our team t-shirts and even picked out our team name – VICTORIA’S VICTORY TEAM! She loved checking the website everyday to see how much money was raised for her team. The actual Walk Day on October 14, 2012, was truly amazing! It was a fun, uplifting day for all of those affected with T1D. The outpouring of love and support for all of the teams there was overwhelming. JDRF really makes this day about the children. There was face painting, activities, food, music, giveaways – anything and everything you could think of to make the event a total success. Besides raising money to fight this disease, my daughter had a great time and can’t wait to do it next year!

Alecia’s Stem Cells
Submitted by Alecia Wesner

On June 19th, 1979, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), then known as type 1 diabetes. My parent’s were blindsided. They found a wonderful endocrinologist, Dr. Robert Kaye, who’s words, I believe, have shaped my entire life. He told my parents that I was a child first, and a diabetic second. He put them in touch with the Philadelphia chapter of what was then JDF (now JDRF). Through JDRF, my parent’s met other family’s of T1D’s who’d been down this road, and they received what they so desperately needed, HOPE for a CURE. My family attended research lectures, participated in JDRF telethons, and I appeared in JDRF public service announcements. My mom joined the Philadelphia chapter’s board and later was the Chair of JDRF’s Philadelphia Zoo Walk. When I look back at my mom’s walk involvement, there’s no wonder why, many years later, the walk would again play such a vital role in my life as an adult.

I moved to New York City shortly after I graduated from college. When I finally found the right endocrinologist for me, I discovered their office had a JDRF Walk team and immediately joined. The Walk was already special to me and walking in a new city made it even better. I walked for two years with my doctor’s office but somehow couldnt convince my friends to join me. In 2001 I had an idea for the Walk. I would start my own team. I figured I’d put my name on the team in hopes that it would be harder for people to say NO to my name than it had been with a diabetes center’s name. Alecia’s Stem Cells was formed and there was no turning back. I enlisted graphic design friends to create our team shirts and another friend put me in touch with a t-shirt printing company. Things were coming together until the tragic day of 9/11/01. The Walk had been scheduled for Battery Park. The Walk was postponed and moved to Queens, but our team showed up, we bundled up and we walked.

Over 11 years later, to keep people involved and motivated, I do whatever I can to make things interesting. We’ve had fundraising cocktail parties, design-your-own Alecia’s Stem Cells shirt iron-on parties, and 3 years ago I organized both a NYC AND Boston team (for the same weekend). The schedule was tight, but I made it to both walks and had an incredible time. This year, I had two teams again. New York City and Los Angeles (luckily over a month apart). We had our largest Walk team EVER in NYC and a brand new team in LA. Both teams were filled with friends and family and both teams had friends I met through my involvement with JDRF. My entire family participated in the NYC Walk (including my parents), we had walkers travel from California, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and even a seven hour bus ride from Penn State. Friends I’ve known for 20+ years walked. My entire office and their families walked. New friends-of-friends I met that day walked. At our first Philadelphia Walk, my little brother was in a stroller being pused by my dad. In 2013, I looked forward to my brother pushing my nephew in his stroller.

JDRF Walk day is full of hope, promise and an incredible amount of love. I am grateful to my friends and family for their amazing generosity and continuing to support the ongoing efforts of JDRF. Now wait until you see what I’m planning for 2013!