Team Regan and Team Strayhorn are ready to walk.
With the inaugural 3K Walk for the Cure just weeks away, organizers are calling on community members to form teams and host fundraisers for the Nov. 17 event.
Steering committee members Billy and Mary Strayhorn, Wayne and Stephanie Rotan and Mike and Aly Kelly are willing - and fitting - hosts for the event, which aims to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDFR).
"After Relay For Life, my nephew told me his wife had Type I Diabetes," Billy Strayhorn said. "I was already thinking about organizing a fundraising event for a cause that was not already being supported by the community. We have a very giving community, and I wanted to find another way we could come together and support a worthwhile cause."
With great confidence in the community, Stayhorn and Wayne Rotan decided to set a lofty goal for the first annual event.
"It may seem out of reach, but we know what the local community is capable of," Strayhorn said, adding they aim to raise $10,000.
And the effort is off to a good start. Two events have been slated to raise funds for JDRF, including a field goal competition at the varsity Tigers' Nov. 8 football game.
"We will sell tickets allowing fans a chance to kick a field goal and win a cash reward," Strayhorn said. "We also plan to sell chances into mid-court free throw competition during basketball season."
Strayhorn said the event has already garnered a good deal of support from corporate sponsors.
"We are offering four levels of sponsorship for corporate donors," he said.
For Rotan, raising funds and awareness for diabetes also hits close to home.
Not long after his son, Reagan Rotan, began his freshman year of college in 2011, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease.
For patients, the body's immune system attacks and destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas. It strikes suddenly, making patients insulin dependent for the rest of their lives. Devastating effects of the disease include kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack and stroke. About 40 children are diagnosed with the disease every day.
"When we got the news, we were devastated," Rotan said. "We had to send him back to college two days later. Before he was diagnosed, I knew nothing about diabetes. I now know the fatigue, constant thirst and frequent urination were signs. We know there is currently not a cure, but the disease is manageable.:
Watching family members struggle with diabetes, Strayhorn and Rotan agree they wanted to support an organization working to find a cure. More than 80 percent of the funds donated to JDRF directly support research and education.
"That is something we are very passionate about, finding a cure so others will not have to live a life of insulin dependency," Rotan said.
The event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Glen Lake Camp, but donations will be accepted through the end of the year.
"The walk is a vehicle to raise awareness and funds for JDRF," Strayhorn said.
For more information on supporting the event, contact Strayhorn at (254) 897-2572 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Rotan at 898-3901 or email@example.com.