Cuyahoga Falls 10-year-old named ambassador for Hudson diabetes fundraiser

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- Residents can join a young boy from Cuyahoga Falls in the fight against diabetes.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes will be Sept. 22 at Hudson Springs Park. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and registration starts at 9 a.m. Participants can walk a 2- or 4-mile route winding around the lake in the park.

There is no registration fee to participate, but participants are encouraged to raise $100 so they can receive the 2013 commemorative walk T-shirt. Last year's attendance was around 300, according to Melaina Lewis, public relations and media intern for the American Diabetes Association in Northeast Ohio.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event raises awareness about diabetes and money to fight a disease that affects 23.6 million American children and adults.

The American Diabetes Association chose Andrew Morse, 10, of Cuyahoga Falls as the Red Strider Ambassador in Hudson, Lewis said.

"As a Red Strider Ambassador, Andrew leads the event and plays a very prominent role in the walk," Lewis said.

Red Striders are children and adults living with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, Lewis said. They are the reason for the walk and fundraising efforts and are celebrated and recognized throughout the event.

Andrew is serving his second year as the Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association.

"I think it is important to tell my story so others understand diabetes," said Andrew. "For kids that are newly diagnosed and are scared like I was, they will know it will be OK, and it will get easier. I want to do my part and be involved to find a cure for diabetes."

As a Red Strider, Andrew raised $2,654 and became a Champion to Stop Diabetes. He was named the 2012 Youth Ambassador and spoke to more than 250 walkers about "a day in his life" with diabetes.

His parents, Karen and Scott, remember the day as amazing.

"We felt extremely proud of our son and were inspired to continue our efforts each year to help raise money to find a cure," said Karen. "The commitment and generosity of so many will forever be in our hearts."

After his diagnosis, Andrew became involved with the American Diabetes Association in September 2012, and has since created a team called "The Drew Crew" to participate in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes and raised $6,654 for the American Diabetes Association, Karen said.

"The Drew Crew is amazing! It was great to see how many people cared and wanted to support me through donations and by walking," Andrew said.

Following his diagnosis with diabetes in April 2011, Andrew's life has changed. He watches what he eats, tests his blood sugar four times a day, counts his carbohydrates and takes insulin shots before each meal.

"He understands his diabetes with great knowledge and handles situations with great maturity," Karen said. "Andrew became a hero in our eyes."

As long as Andrew takes the necessary precautions and is aware of how he is feeling, he can do what he loves most -- play sports and be active.

"I was worried that diabetes would hurt my chance to play sports, but it has not," said Andrew. "As long as I keep an eye on my blood sugars, I can play whatever I want."

The Morses' goal is to raise awareness of this disease and raise funds so the American Diabetes Association can continue to support diabetes research and one day discover a cure. They share their story to help others who have recently been diagnosed or are living with diabetes.

"Our family's life is no longer carefree," Karen said. "There is never a break from this disease. It's a lifelong disease," she added. "So our hope is a cure."

For more information on the event, go to www.diabetes.org/stepouthudson

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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