LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A record of more than 1,200 walkers helped the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Florida Suncoast Chapter near its $200,000 goal Saturday at the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes.
Proceeds from the Lakewood Ranch Main Street event will help fund research toward preventing, treating, and curing type 1 diabetes and its complications. President Ron Stephens of the Florida Suncoast Chapter said type 1 diabetes affects as many as 3 million Americans,
Tricia Rudd of the Suncoast JDRF Executive Board of Directors was cautiously optimistic the event will help push the fund-raising needle over the top in the event's second year at Lakewood Ranch Main Street after being held for more than a decade at Siesta Key.
"We're pretty confident we are going to reach our goal," Rudd said. "It was such a great day. The weather held out and everyone is happy with our new venue."
The JDRF Suncoast Chapter stood at $123,000 before the event and Rudd said organizers are still counting cash and calculating what will remain after expenses.
"All the comments after the race were this the best year yet and best turnout yet," she said.
The walk, with a 1-mile and 5K option, included music by Available Sound and lunch by The Hob Nob.
JDRF Walks are held in more than 200 cities worldwide. Nearly 900,000 people nationally walked last year and raised $86 million.
"It's great to be partnering with JDRF and working together toward such an important goal -- promoting awareness of type 1 diabetes and raising funds to advance research," said John Saputo of Gold Coast Eagle Distributing in a press release. "By working together, we can make a difference for the millions of people who are affected by this disease."
JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes elite principal partners include Advance Auto Parts, Ford Motor Co, and Marshall's; principal partners include Hy-Vee, Roche Accu-Chek and Walgreens; and local corporate partners are Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Comcast, ABC7, The Hob Nob, Courtyard Marriot, Circus Sarasota, Euphemia Haye Restaurant, Eager Beaver Car Wash, US Lawns, Walmart and Coca Cola.
JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research, is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities to cure, treat and prevent diabetes.
Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education.
Go to jdrf.org for more information or to donate.