As parents we spend whatever free time we have taking care of our families. It is just a fact of life that I am okay with because as long as the days were when they were toddlers, the time flies by with an exponential quality as they age. We try to cherry pick their extra-curriculars so we can see them around the home more. Birthday parties and sleepovers are abundant and routine and we get used to spending our weekends driving them from here to there.
Though life gets hurried, there is one yearly event we mark on the calendar and never forget to attend. My son has been a member of Callahan’s Crew for the past two years. This fun loving group shows up to support a special young man, Callahan Haas, in the JDRF One Walk Sarasota each year. Cal is a friendly eighth-grader at Pine View School who has been living with T1D for the past seven years. His friends have seen his struggles firsthand and readily lend their support. Though the time spent at One Walk is more like a day at a festival, the reason they gather is serious and grave—they are there to fund research to eradicate type 1 diabetes (T1D) from the planet.
Type 1 diabetes attacks children and adults with reckless abandon. There is no diet or miracle pill at this time, nothing to restore normalcy to the lives of the families. Healthy and active children who spend their days running and playing, while nourishing their bodies with clean foods, can suddenly find themselves stricken with T1D. Their new routine includes monitoring blood sugar levels and restricting their diets and activities. As classmates and family members go on with typical lives, a T1D carrier must be vigilant at all times, in a consistent state of stress and worry over their medical condition. It is a difficult journey.
JDRF One Walk will be held May 4th at Nathan Benderson Park. Across the country, nearly a million people will join the walk to support research and funding for JDRF. Here in Sarasota, thousands will rally around their loved ones, joining various teams just like Callahan’s Crew to rid the world of T1D. DJ’s, bounce houses, food trucks and a festival-like atmosphere make it one of the most widely attended family events of the season. In the end, Callahan’s Crew hopes to exceed their personal goal of $6000 and we know that this ambitious and dedicated group of walkers will do just that.
Every two years over 160 children afflicted with T1D travel to Washington to meet with members of Congress to discuss their plight with this disease. The field of over 1000 applicants is an impressive list of impassioned young people ready to take their fight for improved research and funding to the big guns in Washington. This year, we are proud to announce that Callahan Haas was chosen to be a delegate to the JDRF Children’s Congress. In July, Cal and the other delegates will meet with lawmakers to make their case for T1D research. We would like to congratulate Cal for this distinguished honor!
Please consider coming out for JDRF One Walk Sarasota to show your support for those living with T1D. The cruelty and randomness with which this disease strikes has surely affected someone whom you know and love. Kids like Cal and the millions of others affected with T1D need our voices, donations, and presence at JDRF One Walk. If you would like more information on JDRF One Walk, please visit their website here.
Photos courtesy of JDRF One Walk Facebook page.Janelle Hass authorized use of Callahan’s photo for this story.