by Tori Hamby
St. Mark Catholic School students aimed to defend their title Friday, March 25, as the American Diabetes Association’s top school contributor as students walked around the school’s track to raise money and diabetes awareness.
Last year, students raised $38,914 – a goal that students are hoping to surpass. They also hope their event raises the most money out of all school “walks” across the country for the third consecutive year.
“It’s our biggest fundraiser, and it’s one that the entire school gets behind,” Principal Debbie Butler said. “The event will also allow us to educate kids about diabetes and living a healthy lifestyle.”
The school kicked off the two-week-long fundraising drive with a pep rally and a little friendly competition as classes battled to raise the most money. Throughout the week, teachers and health educators taught students about type I and type II diabetes, precautions that diabetics must take to control their condition and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid type II diabetes, which can be caused by poor diet and lack of exercise.
St. Mark parent Maria Miller – whose children Robert, a first-grader, and Monica, a preschooler, have type I diabetes – said other students and parents need to realize that diabetics can lead healthy, normal lifestyles.
“When I was growing up, children who were diabetic were usually kept in a corner at birthday parties because parents thought that they couldn’t have any sugar at all,” Miller said. “Robert’s friends and parents know that he can, for example, have a cupcake but no icing.”
School nurse Stephanie Miller works with diabetic students, such as Robert and Monica, to check blood-sugar levels and administer insulin if needed.
“To them, it’s just a way of life,” Stephanie Miller said. “When you’re diagnosed that young, everything about it seems normal.”
After receiving monetary pledges from family and friends, kindergarten through fifth-grade children walked around the track and played a variety of games for 45 minutes. Middle-school students competed in a dodge ball tournament.
Funds raised will be used to send diabetic children to summer camp in North Carolina.