On September 26, Pitt-Greensburg will be hosting its annual JDRF Walk on campus.
The JDRF, which stands for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, strives to find a cure for Type-One Diabetes. One of the group’s means of fundraising is through walks like the one held here.
Brian Root, assistant director of housing and residence, has been involved with this walk for the past fifteen years. Currently, he is in charge of coordinating volunteers and management.
“I think it’s important that people realize that diabetes affects kids,” Root said. “Often times we think it is a disease that only the elderly and adults deal with. However, kids are often diagnosed, too.”
Root also pointed out this year’s goals. “The residence staff has already raised $900 from an August car wash at Firestone. That got us a great jumpstart. Our fundraising goal this year is $4,000, which I think is realistic.”
The fundraising goal is a new objective for the Pitt-Greensburg team. Al Thiel, Student Activities Coordinator at Pitt-Greensburg, said that the walk has grown every year, and the campus goals have grown as well.
“We started out hosting the walk, then we pushed to have a walk team, now our goal is to actually raise money for the cause,” Thiel said at the Student Government Association house meeting on Sunday, Sept. 13. “It’s great what we’re able to do as a group.”
Also on the planning committee is Troy Ross, Director of Housing and Residence Life, who has been personally impacted by Type-One Diabetes.
“As an elementary school student, I watched one of my closest friends struggle with Type-One Diabetes. More recently, my niece was diagnosed with the disease in her late teens, which was a very difficult transition for her,” Ross said. “And while not a type 1 diabetic, my father had diabetes that contributed to many life-threatening health issues.”
Ross said his personal goal for this year is to get more of the Pitt-Greensburg community involved in the fight against this disease.
While Type-One Diabetes is also known as Juvenile Diabetes, that does not mean that the disease ends in childhood. People can be affected at any age. Even some of the members of our campus community live with this condition.
Maria Yokopenic, a sophomore at Pitt-Greensburg, decided to be a team captain for this year’s campus walk in light of struggling with type one diabetes herself. Yokopenic has participated in the event before, but not as a captain.
“I don’t see it [the captainship] as a ‘superior’ role because for a cause like Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, everyone who comes out and supports it in some way is greatly appreciated,” Yokopenic said. “So far this year, there has been a car wash that all CAs put together and hosted, and there is an upcoming bake sale in the Villages that benefits JDRF. This year I am really excited to walk with my school and walk for a cure.”
To join the Pitt-Greensburg walk team, volunteer, or donate to the cause, contact Brian Root (firstname.lastname@example.org). Registration for the walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, and the two-mile walk will begin at 10 a.m.