Diabetes Forecast

Making Strides Toward a Cure

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes raises funds for ADA's mission

By Tracey Neithercott , ,

Jared Kuper, (left), wasted no time raising awareness about diabetes. The day he was released from the hospital—after slipping into a coma, being diagnosed with type 1, and staying in the intensive care unit for three days—the 8-year-old visited his classmates in Northbrook, Ill., to talk about his diabetes. He participated in his first Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes fund-raiser a few months later. And a year after that, he cocaptained a 2010 Step Out team that raised more than $18,000 to support the American Diabetes Association's mission.

Though his team was wildly successful, Jared, now 10, says his goal was to do more than collect money. He wanted to spread the word about diabetes. While preparing for the Step Out walk, Jared spoke with the governor of Illinois about the need for greater funding for diabetes research, taught a dance company of 1,000 girls about diabetes after a major fund-raiser, and went on a local radio show to tell his story. "When I talk to people, I talk about preventing. It's not always about type 1. It's type 1 and type 2," he says. "I talk about type 2 because you can prevent type 2 and not type 1. I tell them you can get better."

Jared's outspoken nature was a boon when it came to raising funds, too. "I spoke at my school. I spoke at a press conference too," he says. While campaigning for his Step Out team, he went door to door, telling his story and asking for donations. He traveled across his school district to talk to students of all ages about diabetes and ask them to support Step Out. "I knew funding would help us find a cure," he says.

What began as Walktoberfest 20 years ago is now the ADA's signature walk, Step Out. It takes place in 135 cities across the United States and raises more than $20 million to support the Association's mission, including funding research for a cure.

Wanda Moore at a Step Out walk in Baltimore with her husband, Curt, and two sons, Marcus (left) and Curt Jr. (right).

Raising funds to find a cure is the reason 50-year-old Wanda Moore got involved in Step Out. Though she's had type 2 diabetes for over a decade, it wasn't until her father passed away from complications of diabetes 10 years ago that she understood the disease's seriousness. "I've become more aware of what can happen with diabetes because of my dad," she says. That's why she decided to head up CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's Step Out team and walk as a Red Strider (a person with diabetes) at the Baltimore event.

Moore devoted her free time—last year, that amounted to 30 hours of work in the month of April alone—to arranging incentives for CareFirst employees, securing prizes, setting up events, and answering any questions colleagues had about Step Out. And while she helped the company raise nearly $34,000 for the 2010 event, Moore headed her home team, too. With the help of her husband and two teenage sons, Moore raised an additional $9,000.

The work is worth it, Moore says, when she sees the number of people rallying together in support of diabetes research. "It's like an overwhelming feeling. I'm just happy and proud I walked. Those five or six hours, you look at what you've done. You can't ever replace it," she says. "Each year I'll say to my dad, 'This will help somebody so they won't have to go through what you went through.' "

Want to Get Involved? You can register for Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes here. If you have diabetes, you can register as a Red Strider here.



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