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Students participate in walk for diabetes research

Mel Flanagan | Monday, September 19, 2011

Instead of sleeping in after a victorious football Saturday, 14 students got out of bed early Sunday morning to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The students participated in the JDRF Diabetes walk at nearby Beutter Park in Mishawaka. Junior Joe Williams helped to organize Team Notre Dame.

“I’m a Type 1 diabetic,” Williams said. “So were a lot of other people doing the walk, or they knew people with Type 1.”

While 14 students actually participated in the walk, Williams said many more donated to the team through a Facebook group and JDRF’s website.

“In total, we raised over $2,000 for the foundation,” Williams said. “It was really great.”

Junior Gina O’Riordan suggested Notre Dame participate in the walk last semester.

“I usually do the walk at home with my family,” O’Riordan said. “It started with my grade school, and then in high school we started a family team.”

The event also included games of cornhole and free massages, Williams said.

“There were also a lot of companies there representing and displaying some of their diabetes-related projects,” he said.

Athletes from the men’s hockey team, the women’s tennis team and the women’s lacrosse team also attended the event to support Team Notre Dame.

O’Riordan said Notre Dame’s first-time participation in the event was a success.

“It’s always fun because you raise money obviously for a cure, but it’s also nice because you get to see the support you have,” O’Riordan said. “You see everyone really wants to be there for you.”

This year, Williams and O’Riordan founded Notre Dame’s Diabetes Support Group, which helps diabetic students as they transition from high school to college.”

“That’s really the reason the group started. I want to support people with diabetes,” Williams said. “It’s really helpful to have someone there to talk to.”

Although spreading the word about the walk was difficult for the fledgling group, O’Riordan said the event would probably be bigger in coming years.

“A lot of kids don’t share that they have diabetes,” O’Riordan said. “It’s not one of those things you can look and know. I think once kids know that students and their friends have diabetes, they’ll definitely come out and have a good time.”

The first meeting for the Diabetes Support Group will be Monday at 8 p.m. in Room 300 of Saint Liam Hall.