ShareThis Page

Ross Elementary raises more than 6K for juvenile diabetes research

| Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 3:15 p.m.
Jayda Duwel, left, and Katelyn Nestor, both fifth graders, taking part in the two-mile walk at Ross Elementary School on Sept. 22.
Amanda Hartle
Jayda Duwel, left, and Katelyn Nestor, both fifth graders, taking part in the two-mile walk at Ross Elementary School on Sept. 22.
At Ross Elementary, 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade took part in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school’s outdoor track and campus perimeter on Sept. 22, raising $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.
Laurie Rees
At Ross Elementary, 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade took part in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school’s outdoor track and campus perimeter on Sept. 22, raising $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.
At Ross Elementary, 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade took part in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school’s outdoor track and campus perimeter on Sept. 22, raising $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.
Laurie Rees
At Ross Elementary, 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade took part in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school’s outdoor track and campus perimeter on Sept. 22, raising $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.
At Ross Elementary, 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade took part in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school’s outdoor track and campus perimeter on Sept. 22, raising $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.
Amanda Hartle
At Ross Elementary, 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade took part in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school’s outdoor track and campus perimeter on Sept. 22, raising $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.

Joey Palmero, an 11-year-old fifth- grader at Ross Elementary School, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes two years ago when his blood glucose levels soared 700 percent higher than normal.

His classmate, 10-year-old Katelyn Nestor, was diagnosed with the disease last year after losing 10 pounds in three days.

Another 10-year-old classmate, Ari Gurchak, missed school for one week because of overwhelming fatigue, an unquenchable thirst, and incessant vomiting — all classic symptoms of juvenile diabetes. He now takes four insulin shots per day to control it.

Nick Sherbo, an 8-year-old third- grader at Ross, also has it.

Juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables the body to get energy from food. Complications can affect major organs in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Diabetics must monitor their sugar intake and blood glucose levels.

“The hardest part about having diabetes is seeing my friends eat any food they want. Or when you're invited to a party and you're not allowed to eat any treats,” Nestor said.

“Halloween is the worst,” added Palermo.

All four students shared their stories and answered questions about diabetes during Ross Elementary School's first-ever school-wide assembly associated with the Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes program sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The program teaches students about diabetes and the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and provides them with an opportunity to make a difference by raising money for Type 1 diabetes research.

In support of their diabetic classmates, the entire student body, comprised of 650 children in kindergarten through sixth grade, engaged in a two-mile diabetes walk around the school's outdoor track and campus perimeter Sept. 22.

They raised $6,643.22 for juvenile diabetes research.

“It's really hot out here, but we're helping scientists find a cure,” said first-grader Angela Irizarry, 6, of Ross, as she forged through the 87-degree heat.

“I applaud Ross Elementary. It means so very much to know that a school community rallied around families who are directly touched by Type 1 diabetes in such a tangible way. The students feel good about raising money to help others, especially when they know they're helping their friends,” said Carol Yannuzzi, executive director of JDRF Western PA Chapter.

Juvenile diabetes affects 1.2 million Americans. It can strike at any age. Between 2001 and 2009 there was a 21-percent increase in the prevalence of juvenile diabetes in people under the age of 20, according to the JDRF website.

Since its inception in 1970, JDRF has contributed more than $2 billion to juvenile diabetes research, which has helped develop therapies, provide advocacy, and inch closer to finding a prevention and cure.

When Nestor was first diagnosed, she had to test her blood sugar levels as often as 10 times a day by pricking her finger. She had to endure four insulin shots each day.

Today, she wears an insulin pump that mimics the pancreas by administering small doses of insulin under the skin throughout the day. She also utilizes a continuous blood sugar monitor that is inserted beneath the skin to keep track of her glucose levels. It alerts her when those levels rise or dip.

“I love (my insulin pump and glucose monitor) more than anything else in the world,” she said.

Laurie Rees is a Tribune-Review contributor.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.