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Diabetes Walk draws 1,000

Organizers hope to raise $240,000-plus

Posted: October 12, 2008 5:03 p.m.
Updated: December 14, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Kids pause to pose with Bugs Bunny at the Walk to Fight Diabetes Sunday. The fund raiser drew more than 1,000 people to Bridgeport Elementary School. The kid volunteers handed out gift bags to walkers.

More than 1,000 people braved high winds and an early morning chill to raise money to fight diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association sponsored its annual Walk to Fight Diabetes Sunday. Despite windy, cold conditions people still slid on their walking shoes for a cause, said Lori Blumenthal, manager for the ADA. The walk began at Bridgeport Elementary School and took participants along McBean Parkway where drivers honked horns in support.

“The event is intended to raise money and awareness in the fight against diabetes,” said Jane Warner, ADA executive director. With more than 1,000 people clad in T-shirts walking the streets of Valencia, it’s hard not to grab people’s attention, she said.

Last year’s walk raised over $210,000, and the goal this year is to raise more than $240,000, Blumenthal said. With all the walkers who showed, Blumenthal is confident the fund raiser will come close to reaching it’s goal.

Team Tommy raised more than $32,000, said Kristin Muhl, team captain. More than 100 walkers make up Team Tommy which walks on behalf of Tommy Muhl, Kristin’s 9-year-old son, who is locked in a six-year battle with diabetes, she said.

Team Tommy is made up of family and friends, Kristin said. “It’s Tommy’s second favorite day of the year behind Christmas,” she said.

An insulin pump allows Tommy to have as normal a life as possible, but diabetes does limit him in some ways. “I could be at the best restaurant in the world and I can’t eat if my blood sugar level is high,” Tommy said. His blood sugar level affects more than his eating. “If my blood sugar level is low and I’m at Magic Mountain or Disneyland, I need to sit down and a take a break,” he said.

None of that stops Tommy from playing baseball, tennis and swimming, Kristin said. And it’s events like the diabetes walk that raise money to support research that assists people just like her son, she said.
The walk is close to Blumenthal’s heart. Her son Troy Blumenthal, 13, suffers from the disease. Troy said he is honored by the amount of support the walk garners.

“I think it’s amazing these people come out her to support us,” he said. Troy didn’t walk the route. He rode his razor scooter with a group of his friends who formed Troy’s team. The boys rode scooters and skateboards and put plenty of fun in the fund raiser, Troy said.

The diabetes walk gives locals in the health care industry a chance to show their support for those suffering from the disease. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and Kaiser Permanente were among the sponsors who walked and staffed booths with information on how to cope with diabetes. Smaller vendors like staffed a tent to show off their wears designed specifically for the needs of diabetics.

Vanessa and Jeff Reagan started with more then money in mind, Jeff said. The company sells diabetic supply carriers. The carriers range from wallet size to purse size and are designed to look like anything but a medical supply carrier, Jeff said.

The idea came when their son Tommy Reagan was diagnosed at two-years-old, Jeff said. The couple began to design items to help their son cope and saw a niche market, he said.


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