Sunday, December 8, 2013
PORTLAND– Five kilometers around Back Bay is hardly a workout for 15-year-old Kate Hall, a track standout at Lake Region High School and state record-holder in the 100-meter dash.
A group known as Gabby’s Gang walks for Gabby Maines, 8, of Waterville, who has type 1 diabetes, during the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International’s walk to cure diabetes at Payson Park in Portland on Sunday. Chad and Alex Higgins of South Portland lead the way while pushing 8-month-old Molly in a stroller.
Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
Amy Jacobson of Cumberland poses for photographs with her son Adam, 7, before the walk at Payson Park in Portland on Sunday. Adam has type 1 diabetes and had a large group – Adam’s Pals – walking on his behalf.
But having type 1 diabetes hasn't been easy on the athlete from Casco, who walked the cove Sunday morning to raise money to help cure, treat and prevent the disease.
JDRF, formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, held its 15th walk in Maine on Sunday and, through pledges, raised $140,000, said Amy Montalto, executive director of the New York-based organization's New England chapter.
The Maine walk, one of seven held in New England and 300 throughout the country, drew about 750 people to Payson Park around 11 a.m. Sunday, Montalto said.
Hall, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2007, spoke to the crowd just before the walk began.
She talked about how keeping tabs on her blood sugar is difficult during hours-long track meets. If it's too high, she can't eat anything to fuel her body before an event. But exercise can make it drop too low, so she might feel dizzy or shake while she runs.
Some 3 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune disease that can strike at any age and for unknown reasons, Montalto said.
Seven-year-old Isabelle Levesque of Arundel was diagnosed when she was 2 years old.
"She really doesn't know life without diabetes," said her mother, Angie Levesque.
Isabelle has to get her finger pricked to check her blood sugar 12 times a day and wears an insulin pump on her hip at all times.
More than 100 of the Levesques' friends and family members walked the cove Sunday wearing light blue shirts with Isabelle's name. Over five years, they have raised $75,000, said Angie Levesque.
"I think it's great," Isabelle said of the support.
And she understands what it's all for: "That we raise a lot of money and find a cure," she said.
Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at
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Walkers make their way around Back Cove during the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International's walk to cure diabetes at Payson Park in Portland on Sunday.
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer