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Girl Scouts plan walk to fight diabetes

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Five local Girl Scouts are taking steps to fight diabetes. On April 24, they are asking the community to walk with them to help find a cure.

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The Junior Girl Scouts of Troop 51932 are hosting a School and Community Walk for Diabetes on Friday, April 24 from 5-9 p.m. at the St. Croix Central High School track. The high school is located at 1751 Broadway Street in Hammond.

People wanting to be a part of the walk must sign a waiver, which will be available the day of the walk. It is also online at www.diabetes.org/schoolwalk. Click on "School Walkers Register" in the lower right corner and search for "St. Croix Central."

A minimum pledge of $10 is needed to participate in the walk. Anyone raising more than $50 will earn a T-shirt and additional prizes.

With this project, fifth-graders Gabrielle Henry, Hannah Olsen, Lexi Vasser, Ashley Kopacz and Destiny Nutt hope to earn their bronze awards. That's the highest award they can get at their level of scouting.

The funds they raise will go to the American Diabetes Association, Ashley said.

St. Croix Central could benefit directly as well. Schools that collectively raise $1,000 or more receive a certificate to purchase physical education equipment and school medical supplies from U.S. Games. The amount of the certificate is based upon a percentage of the gross dollars raised.

The five girls said they got the idea to host a walk from their leaders, Deb Henry and Jen Olsen.

All five have connections to people living with diabetes. The girls listed off friends, family and teachers they know who are suffering from the disease.

Nick Jonas from the popular Jonas Brothers band has type 1 diabetes too, Hannah pointed out. The girls joked that they hope the star will make an appearance at their walk this month.

Jonas is just one of about 15,000 youth ages 20 and younger who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. each year, according to the American Diabetes Association Web site. Diabetes costs the American public more than $174 billion each year.

"The walk is really important to us so people don't die when they're young," Ashley explained on Friday during their Girl Scout meeting.

The troop began planning the walk a few weeks ago. They presented their idea to the school board in February to get permission to use the track.

They've also been learning about the disease itself. All five girls are well-versed on diabetes facts and statistics.

The girls said they're hoping for good community support.

"If we got over 700 people to come, I'd be ecstatic," Hannah said.

The leaders said they'll be more than happy with a turn-out of 250.

The troop said they're still planning events. They are hoping to have music, games and food at the event but aren't sure on the specifics yet.

"This thing is going to be awesome," Destiny summarized.

For more information, call Deb Henry at 715-246-2371 or Jen Olsen at 715-749-3297.

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