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Diabetes Walk Expected to Draw Crowd

Organizers expect over 1,000 participants at Northern New Jersey & Rockland County Chapter of the JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes at Pfizer Oct. 28.

The Northern New Jersey & Rockland County Chapter of the JDRF brings a Walk to Cure Diabetes to Pfizer's Pearl River Campus to raise money, over $1.5 million total over the last six years.

But fundraising isn't the only goal. 

"One of the things I've noticed about the walk, the main purpose is to raise money, but it's a good awareness atmosphere," said Carl Randazzo of Chester. "I remember eight years ago, we walked as a family. A friend was a type 1 diabetic. We didn't know about it. We learned a lot about the disease."

Less than 10 months later, Randazzo's daughter Corinne was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That was seven years ago. The 11-year-old now fits in volunteering with the JDRF along with her interests in sports, clubs and music. The Randazzo's will be taking part in the walk at Pfizer, which begins at 10 a.m. Check-in is at 9 a.m.

"She's very dedicated and involved in doing her part," Carl Randazzo said. "She's a motivational speaker. She's done things to help find a cure. 

"When you hear a child has type 1 diabetes, they don't really understand what that does to your body, how it effects children. They have to endure a lot on a daily basis."

Doug Rouse, executive director of the Northern New Jersey and Rockland County Chapter of the JDRF, said that the walk at Pfizer has been very successful over the six years there.

"Just at that site, we've raised between $1.5 million and $2 million," Rouse said. "We're expecting between 1,000 and 1,200 people Sunday. We're ahead of last year's numbers right now in registration and dollars. 

"What's exciting is we see people in the community and partners joining in the mission to find a cure for type 1 diabetes."

JDRF does similar walks nationwide; raising money that primarily goes into medical research.

"We put between $100 and $120 million into research and prevention," Russo said. "The money we raise goes to support international research efforts.

"Nearly every single advancement in type 1 diabetes (treatment) can be tracked back to a walk. Maybe that researcher in some small lab will find the cure. We don't know which dollar is going to find the cure, which is why we rise as much as we can."

They also fund programs to support children with type 1 diabetes, who often face unique challenges.

"People see someone with type 1 diabetes and they seem fine," Russo said. "They are not with them at 3 a.m. testing their blood sugar, or waking them up to get them to drink some juice or to get their blood sugar down. That's the issue with the disease. It's unpredictable. You can do everything right and still have an issue."

"What life is like for a type 1 diabetic, it's an eye-opener," Carl Randazzo said. "Adults tend to think watch your diet and take a shot every day. They don't understand that a child with type 1 diabetes has to check their blood sugar 10 times a day and take injections every day. It effects every day life in sports activities and parties you go to. I tell people to think back to when you were a kid. How would you like to not be able to grab that cupcake and eat it? You have to test your sugar, and if it's not right, you can't eat it."

That need for understanding is another area where the JDRF can be helpful, in providing support for children with type 1 diabetes and their families.

"If you were never involved with the JDRF, just come to the event and be part of a community," Russo said. "It provides a feeling they are not by themselves. We are here to support them until we find the cure."

For more information or to pre-register, go to www.walk.jdrf.org or call the JDRF chapter office at (201) 568-4838.

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