Keller ISD is tops in the nation in raising funds through the School Walk for Diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
In 2013, the event raised more than $44,000 and involved more than 600 walkers.
When two nurses from Keller High School started the district’s walk in 2005, they raised about $2,000. Every year since then, it has grown in donations, participants, volunteers and sponsors. Now every nurse in the district helps with the event, plus dozens of students, staff members and community volunteers.
“I think it’s been successful because diabetes is such a widespread disease affecting just about every family,” said Debbie Gregor, Keller High nurse and one of the original organizers.
For the second time in three years, Gregor was named the Volunteer of the Year by the American Diabetes Association’s School Walk for Diabetes. Cindy Parsons, KISD director of health services, was named the Administrator of the Year.
“It’s quite an honor, but I just feel like it should not be just a one person award,” Gregor said. “A lot of people work really hard to make the event great.”
Gregor said the walk started with five volunteers and now has more than 200.
Parsons said, “All the nurses are passionate about it.”
The ninth annual School Walk for Diabetes is set for March 29 at the Keller ISD stadium and should be bigger and better than ever.
The walk will be the district’s wrap-up event for the Lifestyle Improvement Challenge sponsored by Baylor Grapevine Hospital. Keller is competing against Birdville, Grapevine-Colleyville, Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Northwest school districts to offer the most health and wellness initiatives. Districts earn points for hosting events and programs that promote healthy living. The top district will receive $25,000, second place $15,000 and third place $10,000 from Baylor Grapevine.
Besides the walk, kids can participate in a soccer clinic with Dallas Sidekicks players and in other fitness challenges, as well as a scavenger hunt for diabetes education. Adults can get information from vendors on physical fitness and healthy eating and take part in a silent auction. Local medical professionals will also be on hand to promote wellness.
The goals behind the event are to raise money for diabetes research right here in north Texas and to encourage people to exercise and eat healthy.
While about 100 KISD students have Type 1 diabetes, many more staff and community members have Type 2 diabetes.
“Exercise and physical fitness can lower the need for medication,” Gregor said. “Healthy food choices can reduce the risk for Type 2.”
For more information about the Keller ISD School Walk for Diabetes, contact Gregor at firstname.lastname@example.org.