POTTSTOWN PA – Madison “Maddie” Palma has trod this path before.
For a third consecutive year, Palma – a fifth-grade student in Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School, who suffers with Type 1 diabetes – on Sunday (Oct. 27, 2013) will lead a team of family, friends and neighbors in the annual “Walk For A Cure” fund-raiser to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The three-mile (5 kilometer) trek starts outside the Philadelphia Art Museum at 10 a.m.
This year’s walk goal is $1.6 million, the foundation’s Philadelphia chapter website reports. Of that the “Making Moves for Maddie” team, as her supporters call themselves, hope to offer contributions totaling $5,000. That’s a pretty ambitious target, mother Wendy Palma admits. Since the team began walking in 2011 it’s managed to attract up to a respectable $2,000 a year, but nothing like more than double that amount.
But then, Maddie’s the ambitious sort. She’s a member of the elementary school band. She serves as a school safety, watching out for fellow students as they cross a driveway or approach their buses. She’s a member of the traveling team for her 11-year-old age group sponsored by the Pottsgrove Soccer Club.
Meanwhile she and others like her, and there are several Type 1 and even more Type 2 diabetics who attend Pottsgrove schools, struggle daily with the disease that disables or reduces their bodies’ ability to produce insulin. The hormone controls the amount of energy-providing sugar in their blood.
Many diabetics take medication for a lifetime, and all must pay careful attention to diet, exercise, sleep, stress, and other factors that can upset the balance between dangerous blood sugar lows and highs. Too little or too much blood sugar can cause blindness, nerve and organ damage, high blood pressure, stroke, and premature death.
The number of people age 20 and younger diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes has risen 23 percent between 2001 and 2009, the foundation claims. Medical experts say the rise of Type 2 diabetes is even faster.
So there will be added urgency in Maddie’s steps, and those of her team. Actually, a pick-up in the pace may be a good thing, mother Wendy says. The walk, she noted, “has helped Madison realize she is not alone.”
- Although only two days away, Maddie’s team continues to accept donations for its walk. Contributions of any amount are appreciated, Wendy Palma said, and all are tax-deductible. They can be made online at the “Making Movies For Maddie” page on the foundation website, here. Checks made payable to “JDRF” also can be mailed to the Palma Family, Attn: Making Moves for Maddie, 1485 Meadowview Dr., Pottstown PA 19464.
Photos from the Palma Family