The annual JDRF walk is coming up again, and my family is getting excited to participate. We’ve missed the last couple of years because of scheduling conflicts and such, but we’re gearing up for it again now! Here’s what I love about it and why you should participate too:

1. It raises money for a good cause. JDRF is the largest non-governmental organization that works to fund type 1 diabetes research. Since 1992, the Walk to Cure Diabetes has raised $1 billion. Being a part of raising that money is really something special!

2. You get to meet tons of great people! When we participated in the walk a couple of years ago, it was so wonderful to look around and see kids just like Kaitlyn and James and families just like us. It was an amazing feeling being surrounded by people who want what we want for our type 1 kids.

3. Free stuff! Vendors come from everywhere to support the JDRF walk! Last time, we met representatives from all the major manufacturers of diabetes supplies. Kaitlyn came home with extra glucose meters, bracelets, carrying cases, glucose tab samples, etc. Even McDonald’s® came out with the menu items that fall under their healthy meal options.

4. Team spirit! Our team last time was made up of everyone in our family and some friends who came out to support Kaitlyn and James. Our team name was “Cousins for a Cure.” It was a great day to bond with each other in honor of these two great kids.

5. It raises awareness. As we were telling our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers about the walk we were going to participate in, everyone was really interested. Many people donated to the cause, but even more, they wanted to know more about diabetes — what it is, how Kaitlyn was diagnosed and what she does to take care of it. Raising awareness is a huge part of making life just a little bit better for our kids with type 1.

6. It’s great exercise. A three-mile walk is good for everyone, don’t you think? I think it’s a fantastic way to celebrate!

7. The T-shirt. I have to admit: One of my favorite parts of the walk last time was the T-shirt my brother-in-law Craig made for our team. It was the cutest drawing of Kaitlyn and James with the words, “Cousins for a Cure.” If you participate with a team, I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to create your very own team shirt to wear on the day of the walk!

8. It makes Kaitlyn feel special. The JDRF walk is a great way to show our kids with type 1 that we support them. It’s a day for them and all about them. Kaitlyn loved it!

9. It’s a great way to feel involved! There are so many opportunities to get involved in the diabetes community, and this walk is just one of them. When you start participating in things like this, you’ll soon find out about so many other things that are out there … diabetes camps, online support groups, etc.

10. It’s a fun day with family and friends. Who doesn’t love a good walk on the beach, right? The walk that we participate in is the Santa Barbara walk on Leadbetter Beach. It’s a beautiful walk along the shore, and it’s a great way to spend a morning with family and friends!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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Related topics:
American Diabetes Month: 13 Ways to Get Involved Together
In the Spotlight: Getting Involved
Kim: Paying It Forward

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