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Community bands together to raise money, awareness for juvenile diabetes research

According to the Centers for Disease Control, doctors diagnosed more than 200,000 children and teens with diabetes in 2018.

NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from a separate story that aired on November 9, 2021. 

This weekend, communities across the Tidewater region came together to raise awareness and money for juvenile diabetes. 

Scarlett Peterson is your average 11-year-old girl, but there’s something a lot of people who meet her may not know about her: Scarlett is dependent on insulin injections.

“I have type one diabetes," Scarlett said. “At first it was a lot, but I’ve kind of gotten use to the way things work with diabetes”

Scarlett and her family were among the dozens of others taking part in a big fundraising event by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Scarlett’s mom Amanda Torres said the fundraiser is also about raising awareness.

“I just don’t think it’s spoken of very much," Torres said.

 "I feel like maybe there’s a stigma because people associate diabetes with an unhealthy lifestyle or being overweight or what have you, but it’s not that. For type one diabetes, their pancreas just stops producing insulin, and we need insulin to live.”

Families are taking part in something called the “365: No Days Off” challenge. Participants are raising money for juvenile diabetes research but must also stay active - by running, walking, hiking, or swimming.

“People with diabetes don’t ever get a day off," event organizer Ann Lee Bailey said. 

"So the idea is for 5 days, get out there and we run and we never take a day off from exercising and promoting a healthy lifestyle."

Living with a chronic disease like diabetes isn’t always easy, but Scarlett has some sound advice for any children who may face this unexpected diagnosis.

“Don’t panic," Scarlett said. 

"Your parents, your caregiver will help you through this. My mom was a big part of helping me get through this. She was always there for me; When I cried, when I was upset, she was always there for me.”

If you want to donate money for juvenile diabetes research, you can do so at www.jdrf.org.

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