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Tigers walk to fight diabetes

The Tigers' efforts raised $400 and the One Walk event raised a total of $156,000 for diabetes research. Photo: Submitted

The Theta Delta Omicron Tigers participated as a team in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation One Walk to show their support for those living with Type 1 diabetes. The One Walk took place at Fluor Field on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.

Tigers President Lindsay Shaleen and Tigers Vice President Grace Bergeron both deal with the effects of Type 1 diabetes in their lives. They wanted to be a part of raising awareness in the community.

“If you’ve never had [Type 1 diabetes], or you don’t have someone close to you who has it, you don’t really realize how much the lifestyle changes,” Shaleen said. “It’s really cool to be one small part, even if you’re just walking or donating, of something bigger than yourself.”

Beginning at Fluor Field, the Tigers walked for a mile through downtown Greenville alongside other participants. Before the walk, they were able to visit booths to talk with sponsors and pick up free stickers and snacks. JDRF also took a moment to recognize the top fundraisers as well as participants who personally struggle with Type 1 diabetes.

Each year, JDRF organizes over 150 One Walks, a one-mile walk to support those with Type 1 diabetes. These walks are arranged to raise money to fund Type 1 diabetes research and encourage new therapies. JDRF invites anyone to participate in these events. Although they welcome donations, fundraising is not required to attend.

Shaleen’s connection to Type 1 diabetes is through her sister who was diagnosed in the summer of 2009. When Shaleen discovered the JDRF One Walk several years ago, she decided to make it a routine with her family.

Bergeron received a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes over the summer. After spending some time at summer camp, she came back fatigued and thirsty. Her symptoms did not improve. Just a week before leaving for college, her doctor confirmed that she had Type 1 diabetes. In addition to adjusting to the start of another year of college, she had to adjust to a completely new lifestyle.

Bergeron said she’s thankful the change is not as severe for her as it is for others. “I have to take one shot every day, and then I watch what I eat. I try to work out every day, so it balances out. Thankfully, that’s all I have to do,” she said.

After learning that Bergeron was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Shaleen wanted to share the JDRF One Walk with her too. “I thought it’d be fun to have her experience that,” she said. “[At the walk] you kind of see people all in different stages of life who have diabetes.”

Shaleen and Bergeron are hoping to involve the Tigers in other future community fundraising activities since Greenville is home to many nonprofits that allow opportunities for people to show support. Shaleen said that she believes supporting associations such as JDRF is a great way to learn more and “do something bigger than yourself.”