JDRF One Walk brings hope to families
The JDRF One Walk, formerly Walk to Cure Diabetes, is taking place on Sept. 25 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Since the One Walk began over 15 years ago, it has been a day of hope and inspiration for those in northern Nevada, living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Over the last few years type 1 diabetes research has advanced exponentially; progress to a cure is palpable, which makes the need for funding more critical than ever before.
JDRF in northern Nevada hopes to raise over $250,000 this September to ensure the future remains bright for those in our community living with T1D.
Steve and Lisa Kordonowy of Carson City were first served by JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) through their Bag of Hope program when their son Luke was diagnosed with T1D in 2012.
“Meeting a JDRF Mentor Family dealing with T1D had a dramatic, positive effect on all of us. This is how we heard about the cutting edge clinical trials JDRF was funding and we knew we wanted to be part of those continued advancements,” shared Lisa Kordonowy.
They immediately began fundraising and participating in the JDRF One Walk by creating their team: Lucas’ Line Drivers. “We have titled our walk day as our Day of Hope,” said Lisa. “When your child is diagnosed with an incurable, lifelong, chronic illness you feel extremely helpless as a parent. Fundraising for research that results in better treatments, and ultimately a cure for this disease, allows us to feel a little less helpless.”
JDRF is paving a pathway to a cure by pursuing research priorities that can improve treatment of T1D in the short term and mature over time into curative therapies.
For example, ViaCyte’s VC-01 device that features pancreatic precursor cells enclosed in a device to protect them from immune attack. In January 2016 ViaCyte reported that VC-01’s precursor cells showed signs of developing into insulin-producing beta cells in one participant of the phase 1 safety trial. According to ViaCyte, although the observations are preliminary, they suggest the VC-01 device is working as designed.
The ViaCyte’s device is just one of several life-changing therapies that are being propelled by JDRF from the lab to patient delivery. JDRF has championed the development of artificial pancreas (AP) systems for more than a decade to improve outcomes for people with T1D. Over the last year they saw at least 18 different AP systems under development by industry and academic groups, including a team at the University of Virginia (UVA).
“Simplifying treatments for T1D has benefits far beyond the families that are engaged with JDRF” says Mary Powell, branch director for JDRF in northern Nevada. “When we have spoken to families, school nurses and providers, an urgent need is revealed to reach those in our community that have limited access to programs that can assist them. Right now it is really hard to manage T1D well. Something like implanted cell replacement therapy could let everyone with T1D live without the burden of their disease for possibly years.”
The Kordonowy Family couldn’t be more excited about the progress and future they see for their son. “If you think about pricking your child’s fingers eight times every day, counting every single carbohydrate he eats, injecting insulin every day for the rest of his life, it feels like an overwhelming task. JDRF gives us hope that one day soon, Luke will be free of all of that and can just be a kid.”
In 2015 the Kordonowy One Walk team changed their name from Lucas’ Line Drivers to Kordonowy Cousins for a Cure when Steve and Lisa’s nephew Mason was also diagnosed with T1D. That made the third child in their family to be diagnosed. Mason and his parents Kelley and Anthony Kordonowy are also northern Nevada residents and are thankful for JDRF and the JDRF One Walk.
“One Walk is exhilarating,” says Kelley Kordonowy. “It brings out teams of all sizes and we know we are all there for the same reason. I’m always jazzed and saddened at the same time about how special this event is to our family.” The Kordonowy Cousins for a Cure team raised over $16,000 for the JDRF One Walk in 2015, a total they hope to beat this year.
You can join the Kordonowy family in raising funds for JDRF by participating in the JDRF One Walk. Visit walk.jdrf.org/reno to register. Start a team, make a donation and be a part of the historical advancements happening in type 1 diabetes research. Contact JDRF Northern Nevada by calling 775-786-1881 or e-mail NorthernNevada@jdrf.org for more information on how you can get involved.
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