9 years ago in October 2005, almost a year after my diagnosis, after my family and I had finally begun to accept and deal with my diabetes, we all decided to do something about it, rather than simply sitting back and only fulfilling our minimum obligations of maintaining my health. We wanted to help find a cure and we wanted to be involved in the advocacy of type 1 diabetes. So, we became involved with an organization known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (JDRF) The goal of JDRF is to raise money that is directly funded towards a cure for, prevention of, and research for a better lifestyle with type 1 diabetes. One of the main fundraising events each year for my local chapter of the JDRF is the annual Walk To Cure Diabetes. Thousands of people come each year to support their loved ones with diabetes and to raise money to help find a cure! So, in October of 2005, my family and I created our team, Hannah's Bananas. We recruited our friends and family to walk with us, encouraged them to make donations, and even created bright yellow team t-shrits for everyone who came out and supported us! Last Sunday, my team and I completed our 9th walk.
The first year, my team had over 60 walkers who all generously donated and supported me. After that, my family and I knew that this would soon be a huge part of our life every year, and that we wanted to do as much as we could to raise the most money possible each and every year. Every year, beginning around August, we begin reminding our friends and family about the walk and the date, and encourage them to donate and ask their friends for donations. Some of our major fundraising events each year include selling and hanging up paper sneakers at our local Shop-Rite, placing collection jars at local businesses around town and collecting change, and holding a bus trip to Atlantic City! One year, we even had a booth at a Jonas Brothers Concert, and afterwards, we got to meet them! Nick Jonas has diabetes and was really supportive! Each year, we are more and more determined to raise more money than the year before!
In the end however, it is the support that counts and proves how many people are truly there for you. Walk day feels incredible. All of your hard work comes together for one perfect morning. Every year, my team comes up with a new slogan and t-shirt design with one banana for every year we have been walking, and on walk day, everyone wears the new shirt! Once, my team even won the JDRF contest for best t-shirt design! Walk day makes me feel so loved, with so many friends and family waking up bright and early with huge smiles on their faces ready to walk to show their support for me and everyone around the world living with diabetes. There are fun games and activities going on before the walk that make the morning even more enjoyable, but the best part is spending it with everyone who loves you. Regardless of the amount of money we raise, the unconditional support of my friends and family each year is truly priceless.
This year, about 50 of my friends came out and supported me, sporting their bright yellow Hannah's Bananas t-shirts! Friends since I was in kindergarten, from my track team, from school, from camp, family, and even my parent's and brother's friends all came out to walk with me! With perfect weather and great people, this year's walk was loads of fun!
The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes with my team has become a major part of my life. I like the fact that I am doing all that I can to help find a cure for diabetes and promote advocacy for this cause that is obviously so important to me. Each and every year, the walk proves to me how so many of my friends and family care about me and it also shows me that I can do anything if I work hard and put my mind to it. I'm already excited for next year's walk! (Of course, my family and I never say that line without stating that, that is of course, if there is no cure by then!)
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!