Home Sicklerville News Gloucester Township girls fight type 1 diabetes with the annual JDRF One...

Gloucester Township girls fight type 1 diabetes with the annual JDRF One Walk

The South Jersey Chapter Walk is set for Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Sixth graders Hailey Rowan, 11, and Abby Hess, 12, participate in the JDRF walk each year for type 1 diabetes research. Photo Courtesy of Sue Hess.

When they were in first grade, Abby Hess, 12, and Hailey Rowan, 11, met during a visit to the nurse’s office at Loring-Flemming Elementary School. Both girls were receiving one of many daily checks for their type 1 juvenile diabetes.

Five years later, still friends and still combating their condition, the sixth graders find time in between their ordinary adolescent activities such as ballet and basketball to raise funds to fight the disease.

Of the girls’ various fundraising activities, the JDRF One Walk serves as a staple annual event for them, as they’ve been participating since the Glen Landing students were diagnosed.

Shortly before her first day of kindergarten, Abby was hospitalized after losing consciousness when her blood sugar exceeded 600. Hailey was in first grade when she, too, was hospitalized and then later diagnosed with the disease.

For the second time, Gloucester Township is hosting the South Jersey Chapter walk on Sunday, Oct. 22 at Camden County College’s Blackwood Campus, located at 200 College Drive, Gloucester Township.

The three-mile walk kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. The national event raises funds for scientific research to better treat, prevent and ultimately cure type 1 diabetes.

Hailey and Abby’s lemonade sale for type 1 diabetes research.

“We recognize how hard it is and we want to do anything we can to change it,” said Abby’s mother Sue.

Of the 1.25 million Americans living with T1D, about 200,000 are patients under 20 years old, according to the JDRF.org. An often isolating condition, the walk, which draws thousands, reminds patients and their families that they are far from alone.

“I get to see other people who are like me,” Abby said.

The South Jersey Chapter’s 2017 goal is $465, 003. Donors can contribute to individual teams through the JDRF website. Abby’s team is titled “Abby’s Army of Hope.” Hailey’s team can be found under the name “Hailey’s Aces.” Hailey is also holding a fundraising opportunity on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Passariello’s Italian Kitchen, located at 111 Laurel Oak Road in Voorhees. Customers must mention JDRF upon checkout. A portion of their bill will be donated to JDRF.

“It’s a day where everybody comes together and they all support you,” Haley said.

Despite daily routines of counting carbs, checking sugars and administering insulin, both girls find the energy to attend dance classes, play sports and serve as representatives of their homerooms for student government.

They even channel this vigorous spirit toward their conditions, as this past August they hosted a lemonade sale at Veteran’s Park where they raised $400 for type 1 diabetes research.

Abby and Hailey at last year’s JDRF Walk.

Just like the lemonade, Abby and Hailey plan to attend the event as a pair.

“It’s such a hard disease to have,” Sue said. “The walk is good for them, because it gives them a good feeling. They’re doing something to help fix this.”


Hailey’s team: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk/SouthJerseyChapter4396?team_id=239353&pg=team&fr_id=7021

Abby’s Team: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk/SouthJerseyChapter4396?team_id=234600&pg=team&fr_id=7021

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