In her third year participating in the JDRF One Walk in Balboa Park Nov. 9, 13-year-old Hayden Roddis of Carmel Valley led her team Hayden’s Heroes for this year’s ribbon cutting.
The walk takes place every year in support of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. Hayden was diagnosed three years ago, after experiencing symptoms such as thirst and fatigue.
The event, held by the nonprofit JDRF, brings together about 900,000 people with type 1 diabetes, family members, friends and other supporters at multiple events throughout the country.
“It’s really nice because they know how you feel, and you feel like you’re not alone,” said Hayden, a student at Pacific Trails Middle School, referring to the other students with type 1 diabetes who participate each year.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the pancreas producing little to no insulin, which enables blood sugar to enter the cells in the body where it can be used for energy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resulting in a blood sugar buildup that causes the symptoms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults, but can develop at any age, according to the CDC.
Hayden’s Heroes, which consisted of 22 team members and 42 donors, raised $3,850, surpassing its goal of $3,500. The San Diego walk as a whole raised nearly $720,000 of its $745,700 goal, according to the event’s website. In 2018, JDRF collected $227 million in revenue, and spent $108 million on type 1 diabetes research, $56 million on public education efforts and $28 million in fundraising.
The JDRF One Walk coincides with National Diabetes Awareness Month in November.
“Every day, the T1D community advocates for change,” Aaron Kowalski, JDRF president and CEO said in a statement commemorating the beginning of the month. “And JDRF works tirelessly alongside them to drive impact across research and advocacy. This work is helping to make both big and small differences in the lives of people with T1D.”
Hayden said she wants to advocate for change by making plans to speak with Congress about devoting federal resources to diabetes research.
“I hope to go to Washington next year,” she said.