Three Keller school district employees were honored recently for their work with the School Walk for Diabetes.
At the American Diabetes Association Awards Night 2014 Dec. 8, Cindy Parsons, director of health services and a registered nurse, was named the North Texas Administrator for the Year for the School Walk for Diabetes and Keller High nurse Debbie Hooker received the volunteer of the year award.
Also recognized was Keller High nurse Debbie Gregor who received the Sylvia and Gary Luskey Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Diabetes Association on World Diabetes Day Nov. 14.
Gregor and another KISD nurse at Florence Elementary School started the district’s participation in the School Walk for Diabetes in 2005.
“We were looking for something our diabetic students could participate in,” Gregor said.
The event has grown from 100 walkers from two schools to about 1,500 participants from 39 campuses who raised more than $73,000 in 2014.
Keller’s event has become the biggest School Walk for Diabetes in the nation.
For Parsons, it was the second year in a row to receive the North Texas Administrator of the Year.
Parsons said, “I’m personally blessed to work with 48 fabulous nurses and an administration that supports us in doing whatever we can for children.”
Parsons and Gregor are already busy coordinating the Tenth Annual Keller School Walk for Diabetes, set for March 28. They plan to have a superhero theme and a costume contest for students.
KISD nurses and physical education teachers will have a focus in the month of March for Type 2 diabetes prevention. Parsons said they are planning a walking challenge for families in community parks.
Gregor said she wants to continue to raise awareness of the prevalence of diabetes and ways to avoid Type 2 diabetes. About 100 KISD students have Type 1 diabetes and many community members have Type 2 or are at risk for developing it.
According to statistics from the American Diabetes Association, 11 percent of the population in North Texas has diabetes, almost 2 percent higher than the national average.
“Healthy eating, exercise and getting to a healthy weight are the best ways to reduce your risk for diabetes,” Gregor said.