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January 25, 2012 06:04 PM

Walking Toward A Cure For Diabetes

sioux falls, sd

Three-thousand people are expected to gather at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls this weekend to raise money to fight an increasing health problem.

The number of people diagnosed with not only Type 2, but also Type 1 diabetes, is on the rise.

That's why health officials and those impacted by the disease are joining forces in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Like most moms, Kim McCoy enjoys looking at old pictures of her son. While many mothers worry about their children, McCoy has had more worries than most.

"Deal with the constant insulin injections, blood sugar monitoring, monitoring the activity with that," McCoy said.

McCoy's son, Adam, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just nine-years-old. Along with the daily monitoring, he has had a few health scares.

"When he's playing ball, that's all he wants to think about. And there was a particular day he was pitching and thought he was taking the right amount of insulin and ended up taking way too much. And he did have a seizure," McCoy said.

Now Adam is 22-years-old and away from home studying at Minnesota State University in Mankato. But this weekend they'll have a family reunion as they gather to fight diabetes.

This weekend, when thousands of people walk to raise money to find a cure for diabetes, some of that money will go toward research at Sanford.

"It is a leading chronic health condition. It's the leading cause of blindness and amputation and it greatly affects people's lives," Sanford Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Laura Davis-Keppen said.

Dr. Davis-Keppen says in her 25 years working with diabetics, she's seen major accomplishments in treatment.

"It was only in the early 1920s that insulin was available. Prior to that, people with Type 1 diabetes always died," Davis-Keppen said.

But still, Davis-Keppen says more work needs to be done so researchers can find a cure for a disease that's impacting more people, such as the McCoys.

"People who don't understand managing diabetes, they think you just take insulin; you check your blood sugars. Yeah, but when you try to be active and try to keep tight control, then that insulin decides to do something that you don't plan it doing and you have severe low blood sugar and have a seizure. You can die from that," McCoy said.

It's a potentially deadly disease that people will fight this weekend one step at a time.

Pre-registration for the Walk to Cure Diabetes starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Empire Mall. The walk begins at 9:00.

To donate or take part in the walk, visit the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes website.
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