On an October morning, 300 people took a two-mile walk through the venerable oak trees of Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve in Mahomet, Ill. Afterwards, they enjoyed music, snacks, a raffle and face painting. The outing raised $20,000 for the research of Denise L. Faustman, MD, PhD, whose Immunobiology Laboratory at Mass General is working to reverse Type 1 diabetes.
“When I read of Dr. Faustman’s clinical trial regenerating insulin-producing cells, I thought, ‘Here we go,’” says Kelly Nykaza, whose daughter Leah, age seven, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago. “We want to support someone who’ll make this disease go away—even if takes 20 years. Dr. Faustman’s work gives us hope.”
“I hope I don’t have to inject myself for the rest of my life. Maybe when I’m older, they’ll invent something that doesn’t hurt as much. Maybe I won’t have diabetes forever if there’s a cure.” - Leah Nykaza, age seven Get started!
Kelly organized the walk with other mothers of children who have Type 1 diabetes. “Local businesses donated raffle items and covered our costs, so all our proceeds went to Dr. Faustman.”
Inclusive and family-friendly by design, the event took just a few hours and walkers simply donated whatever they could. Out-of-town “virtual walkers” sent contributions and posted their photos on the event’s Facebook page. The elementary school principal gave a kick-off speech and along the footpath, signs informed walkers of Type 1 diabetes.
Kelly and her friends want to make the walk an annual event. “So do our kids. We had a great time. This disease can make a child feel alone. Knowing so many support us makes us feel anything is possible.”
In son’s honor, family organizes bike event to raise funds for pediatric oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
Let’s build something great together! Discover what we can do to help make your fundraiser a success.