Walk to Cure Diabetes raises over $17K
Former Oiler Fernando Pisani makes $10K cheque presentation at Westlock
More than 150 Westlock area residents braved the rain to participate in the 10th annual Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes on Tuesday evening (June 19), raising more than $17,500.
The starting point of this fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) was the Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre, which was officially opened only three days before.
From there, participants walked approximately five kilometers (or longer, if they wished) along the Westlock Rotary Trail. Luckily, Mother Nature accommodated the walkers for the most part; it did rain, but only for a few minutes.
Among those taking part in the walk was Kandee Stadnyk and her daughters Kinzee and Kianna.
Kandee, who herself has Type 1 diabetes, held her own fundraiser before the walk in the form of a scrapbooking weekend in Westlock on June 9-10. She said they were able to raise about $1,000 from that event, bringing the fundraising total of “Team Stadnyk” to just over $3,400.
Kandee said she was “very happy” with how much she was able to raise for the event.
Val Hampshire, who’s been a member of the walk committee “since Day 1,” said it was nice to see the support of the community at the walk.
Hampshire said they fell short of their ultimate fundraising goal of $21,000, though that was probably due to the weather and the fact that it’s a busy time of the year in Westlock.
Pat McCormack, chair of the JDRF board for the Northern Alberta region, said he thought the walk “went very well,” noting that there are always donations to trickle in after the fact.
McCormack said there are 17 regional walks hosted around the province, as well as one walk held in Yellowknife, N.W.T.
Noting that this year marked the 10th anniversary of Westlock’s walk, McCormack said he’s been out to Westlock about five times now, in part because he’s friends with one of the local participants.
“They’ve done very well. They’ve raised a lot of money for research, which is a great thing,” he said.
Prior to the walk, there was a barbecue and a ribbon-cutting by the two Walk Ambassadors, Rylee Patriquin and Michelle Cruickshank.
There was also a cheque presentation for $10,000 Euros to the JDRF by former Edmonton Oilers right-winger Fernando Pisani.
McCormack said the hockey player had won the BiLLe Celeb Charity Challenge (www.celebritycharitychallenge.org). He chose to donate his prize to the JDRF, and Westlock was chosen as the site where he would make the presentation.
“(His donation) wasn’t specific to this event, but to find a cure for diabetes,” said Barbara J. Armstrong, regional manager of the JDRF.
“Tonight was just an opportunity to get him out to the community to meet some of the local folks, because they’ve been asking for him to come to their walk for a few years.”
All funds raised from this event go to the JDRF, the leading organization funding type 1 diabetes research.
Since its founding in 1970, the JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research. The goal this year was to bring in $7.9 million across Canada and $800,000 from Edmonton and northern Alberta.
Among other projects, Armstrong said they are funding research into islet cell transplants at the University of Alberta.
Type 1 diabetes currently affects more than 300,000 Canadian and accounts for about $12.2 billion in health care costs within Canada each year.
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