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Student with Type 1 Diabetes raises money for cure through local walk

Friends!  These t-shirts are being worn by students to show support for Kailyn Pater.  Photo by Jacob Hord
Friends! These t-shirts are being worn by students to show support for Kailyn Pater. Photo by Jacob Hord

Kailyn Pater does what every other fifteen year old does; she goes to school, she participates in sports and she hangs out with friends. When she goes to the movies, she still enjoys the popcorn. But she has to enjoy it in moderation.

Pater has Type 1 Diabetes, an uncommon condition that results from the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin, one of the body’s vital hormones, converts sugar and starches into energy for the body. Only 5% of the people diagnosed with Diabetes have this form of the disease. Because of her condition, Pater must regulate the amount and type of food she eats, as well as maintain stable blood sugar levels by injecting insulin into her body. Not doing so would mean the difference between life and death.

“It’s really hard,” Pater said. “But, you know, people ask, ‘How do you do it? How do you stab yourself every day?’. I just say, ‘I kind of have to do it to live.’ ”

Currently, scientists have not found a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Because of this, organizations and individuals who have the condition have begun to organize public events to raise the money needed to find a cure.

Lisa Treese, a local citizen whose son has Type 1 Diabetes, organized a fundraiser to benefit local citizens who suffer from the condition. The $19,790 raised by this event went to the Corporate Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, an organization dedicated to researching and finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Over 400 people attended this event, the sixth annual Blair County Diabetes Walk, Saturday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Foot of Ten Elementary School. Sponsors for the event included Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company, the Delgrosso Family, and the local radio station, Rocky 104.9.

The people with Type 1 Diabetes who attended the event each organized their own teams to participate in the walk. These people, including Pater, participated in a variety of fundraisers prior to the walk to raise money for the foundation and to promote awareness of Type 1 Diabetes. For her fundraiser, Pater chose to sell t-shirts of her own design.

“I’m hoping for a cure, not something to prevent it,” Pater said. “Because it’s not going to help people who have it, so why not make a cure to help the people who already have it and will have it?”

Selling over 96 shirts, Pater raised $1,352 for Type 1 Diabetes research. Members of her team then wore these tie-dyed shirts to the walk on Saturday.

“I loved the shirts,”  ninth grade student and one of Pater’s friends Sadie Rhyner said. “They were really colorful.”

Friends of hers who bought t-shirts also wore them to school Friday, May 9 and Friday, May 23 to promote the walk and to raise awareness for Type 1 Diabetes. Each time, the group took photographs in ninth grade biology teacher Heather Partsch’s room, C258. Pater later posted these photographs on social media sites in order to spread further awareness for the disease.

“I think that people just automatically think, ‘Oh, they ate too much sugar, so they have Type 1 Diabetes.’ “ Pater said. “They don’t understand it couldn’t have been prevented; it’s a lifestyle. People don’t know enough about it. The world has to be educated.”

Pater and her family found out about the walk through the social media site, Facebook.

They attended it for the first time on Saturday.

“I found Lisa Treese on Facebook through Kailyn’s dad,”Pater’s mother, Susan Pater Pohl said. “She ‘friended’ me and as I read her posts, I learned about the DRI and an annual walk to raise money and awareness.”

This year, Pater connected with the Blair County Diabetes Walk on a personal level, as it fell exactly two days after her one year anniversary of diagnosis. All of her family members came out to participate in the walk and support her.

“My favorite part of the walk was having so many wonderful friends and family members come together to support Kailyn,” Pater Pohl said.

During the Blair County Diabetes Walk on Saturday, people had the choice of walking on Foot of Ten’s track, or participating in activities such as zumba, facepainting, chalk drawing and a raffle.  Pater’s family, as well as a number of other volunteers, helped to set up and run these activities. People also had the option of purchasing food, such as hot dogs and popcorn, and drinks, such as iced tea and soda, throughout the duration of the walk.

“There was facepainting, there was different stuff that you could buy, and, obviously, you walked around the track,” Rhyner said.

Rhyner, as well as several of Pater’s other classmates, attended the walk to support their friend.

“Just hanging out, that was my favorite part,” Rhyner said. “Just to be there and be there for her, that was my favorite thing.”

Rhyner and several of Pater’s other friends have commented various times on their friend’s ability to handle the stress of Type 1 Diabetes.

“Oh my gosh, she handles it so well. She’s a trooper,” Rhyner said. She handles it better than I would. I would be, like, dying.”

Including having to inject insulin into her body, Pater must take on a number of other daily challenges to cope with the disease. These include making sure to read the labels and nutrition information of all of the foods that she eats. She must also prepare herself in case of any emergency that could occur.

“ We plan meals more closely. I automatically convert food choices into carb grams in my head. Activities are planned in advance so that insulin can be adjusted. I always have a Plan A, B, and C in case something goes wrong. I carry an emergency Glucagon kit with me at all times,” Pater Pohl said. “I have always worried. It’s my nature. That hasn’t changed since the day I found out I was expecting Kailyn. A difference now is that I know a few things that can and may hurt her and its heart wrenching.”

In addition to the daily challenges that she must take on, Pater has also had to deal with multiple discomforts resulting from Type 1 Diabetes. These include loss of sleep, frustration with the disease, and having to explain to parents of friends her condition, as well as what she can and cannot eat.

“Hate is a strong word, but I hate that she must manage this disease every second of every day,” Pater Pohl said. “If I could trade places with her and take this burden away from her, I would in a heartbeat.”

Despite the challenges of having Type 1 Diabetes, Pater knows that her family and friends will always support her to the best of their abilities.

“It’s a serious thing, and people who have it are really strong people,” Rhyner said. “If you can deal with that, you can do anything.”

Friends!  These t-shirts are being worn by students to show support for Kailyn Pater.  Photo by Jacob Hord
Friends! These t-shirts are being worn by students to show support for Kailyn Pater. Photo by Jacob Hord


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  • R

    RACHEL M.May 29, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    This was a great story, and I’m so glad I could be a part of this!

  • J

    JOHN D.May 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I bought a shirt for her, and it is for a great cause to support her.

  • K

    KAILYN P.May 28, 2014 at 12:19 am

    I love this story so much Ally! It was fantastic, and I really appreciate you picking to write about me 🙂 P.S. my Mama loves the story, too.

    • S

      SADIE R.May 30, 2014 at 12:36 am

      Ally I love this story! Thanks for including me in it and you are so talented at writing!

  • L

    LINDSEY F.May 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Great story I loved it.

  • A

    ALISSA J.May 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    It was a great story!!

  • W

    WILLIAM M.May 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I know somebody with diabetes i know it can be painful.

  • T

    Trena' JohnsonMay 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I agree Kailyn is a really strong person. As her friends we are here to support her(:

  • S

    SARAH D.May 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    That is very uplifting a girl with type 1 diabetes trying to raise a cure is wonderful!!! Go Pater!

    • M

      MATTHEW C.May 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Inspiring. I knew her since 1st grade, and it is a really good cause.

    • M

      MACY J.May 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I wish I would have bought a shirt to support Kaylin because she is a good friend.