POTSDAM -- The second annual Walkin' for Willz 5k to Cure Juvenile Diabetes Sept. 11 attracted hundreds of walkers from all around St. Lawrence County and raised nearly $15,000 for the cause with donations still coming in.
Beautiful weather, live music, and family entertainment greeted families and organizations who formed teams to walk the 5K through Potsdam and Clarkson University
The Walkin' for Willz event is named in honor of Potsdam native Billy "Willz" Howlett, who lost his battle with diabetes at age 20 due to rare and sudden complications in 2008.
file:///Users/Bill/Desktop/gop%20letter.docThe events have raised nearly $70,000 since its inception for the Central NY chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). JDRF-CNY serves children and adults, including those St. Lawrence County, with Type 1 diabetes.
JDRF is the worldwide leader in funding research to cure type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly and lasts a lifetime. Diet and exercise alone are not enough. With Type 1 diabetes insulin must be injected multiple times a day for life, along with constant monitoring of carbohydrate intake and activity levels.
JDRF's mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
Billy Howlett was a third year student at LeMoyne College studying business and leadership management, and was a counselor at Camp Aspire in Rush, N.Y., a summer camp for children with diabetes. His post-graduate goal was to put his degree to work with non-profit organizations such as JDRF in search of a cure. The Walkin' for Willz 5K event has become a way of carrying out his mission and this years walk event had a bit of extra special meaning since it was held on what would have been Billy's 23rd birthday.
Over the last two years several St. Lawrence County children with diabetes have benefited from scholarships to Camp Aspire available through the Potsdam Junior Hockey Association's Thanksgiving Memorial Tournament. Camp Aspire helps children become more independent in their diabetes care. Visit www.potsdamhockey.org for more information about diabetes camp scholarship opportunities.
The next Walkin' for Willz 5K event is tentatively scheduled for September 17, 2011 at Ives Park in Potsdam.