LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Hundreds of people walked to cure diabetes Sunday.
The 13th annual La Crosse Walk to Cure Diabetes raises money for Type 1 diabetes research.
It's hosted by the Western Wisconsin Juvenile Diabetes Research foundation.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where a person's pancreases can't produce insulin, a hormone needed to digest sugar, according to JDRF.
About 30,000 people in the U.S. receive a diagnosis each year, JDRF reported.
With more than 50 family teams participating, organizers said the walk is a fundraiser, but it also shows kids with Type 1 that they are not going through it alone.
"They can also possibly see that they're not the only kid out there that has to endure the finger pokes, the insulin shots, and things they have to put up with day after day," said Lori Ascher, the Chair for the La Crosse-area walk.
The La Crosse Walk to Cure has a fundraising goal of $55,000.
As of Sunday night, they've already raised almost $32,000 of that goal just online.
During the walk for a cure, a sea of purple and blue lead to Tessa Thurin.
Thurin is a seventh grader at Westby Middle School, a star volleyball player, and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago.
"My grandpa has Type 2 diabetes and he was noticing that I was drinking a lot and he wanted to test my blood sugar," Thurin said. "When he did, (the blood test) couldn't even read (my sugar) because it was so high."
She now has to check her blood sugar before every meal, before she goes to bed, and if she feels her sugar dropping, to make sure she stays healthy.
It's a challenge on the volleyball court, Thurin said. But she doesn't let Type 1 walk all over her; neither do her friends.
"They get worried about me when I get low and stuff," Thurin added.
But living with Type 1 comes with a learning curve, according to Rhonda Rood, Thurin's mom.
"There have been both extreme highs and pretty lows that were scary especially in the beginning when you're dealing with it for the first or second time," Rood said.
Thurin, her family and friends formed Team Tessa to raise money to help research a cure.
"(Thurin) told me the other day, she said, ‘One day I hope I can say I had diabetes.' And I just think that's a really cool attitude," Rood said.
Already Team Tessa has raised more than $4,300 for Walk to Cure. According to the JDRF website, that's the most money earned by one team in the La Crosse-area so far.
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