When Alyson Kreitzman's son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes last summer, her family was devastated.
"We felt so helpless," she said. "I was a nurse and I still didn't understand the lifelong impact of it."
At 17, her son Johnny, a senior at Stone Bridge, seemed old for a juvenile diabetes diagnosis. So Kreitzman started finding out everything she could.
Her research led her to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
"It was the first time I felt hope," Kreitzman said.
Now, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an international organization with a Washington, D.C.-area chapter, has announced the first-ever Walk to Cure Diabetes in Northern Virginia — and it's here in Lansdowne.
Kreitzman immediately signed up to volunteer.
"I would have walked anywhere in the world for him, but I was so excited when I heard it was in Lansdowne," she said.
WASHINGTON, D.C., has had its own Walk to Cure Diabetes for more than 20 years. The first Northern Virginia version will be held at Lansdowne Resort on June 12.
As the foundation was looking for a site central to members across Northern Virginia and into West Virginia, the resort stuck out: it had ample parking, nice neighborhoods, a picnic pavilion.
"That was just perfect for what we were looking for — a site that was beautiful and a site that people would know about," said Megan Beste, walk coordinator for the foundation.
While there is no entry fee for walkers, they are encouraged to raise at least $100 through donations. In 2004, the Capitol Chapter's Walk in Washington, D.C., raised more than $1.1 million with 4,000 walkers.
The goal for the Lansdowne walk's first year is to include more than 250 walkers and raise at least $100,000 for diabetes research.
More than 18 million Americans have diabetes — 1.3 million of which have Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, diabetes is the most costly chronic disease, accounting for $132 billion in health-care costs in the United States in 2002.
The Walk to Cure Diabetes at Lansdowne Resort will take place on June 12, at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
Friday, April 1, is the "Team Captain Kickoff Luncheon" at Lansdowne Resort. Anyone interested in participating in the walk is invited to the luncheon to hear more about the walk, register and meet other local families. Contact Megan Beste at email@example.com or by calling 202-465-4114 for more information.
To register for the walk, visit www.jdrfcapitol.org, or stop by the Loudoun Sports and Health Club on April 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes comes in two forms: Type 1 or juvenile, and Type 2 or adult-onset. Type 1 generally strikes in childhood and causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin, the hormone that allows people to gain energy from food. Sufferers of Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin shots to survive. There is no certain cause of type one diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is often caused by obesity or inactivity, and means that while the body produces insulin, it does not use it effectively. It does not always require insulin shots.
Information courtesy the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Web site, www.jdrf.org.