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One Walk Houston set for Nov. 3

October 4, 2018

JDRF Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, the local branch of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to type 1 diabetes research, and Amegy Bank of Texas are teaming up for this year’s One Walk Houston.

One Walk Houston will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, at NRG Stadium. The walk is one of the largest fundraisers for type 1 diabetes that JDRF holds.

According to JDRF Executive Director Rick Byrd, type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an auto immune disease in which a person’s immune system kills off insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Therefore, the person is insulin dependent and not able to control their blood sugar levels.

“One and a quarter million adults are living with T1D,” Byrd said. “The rate of diagnosis has increased 21 percent between 2001 and 2009. By 2050, five million people are expected to live with T1D.”

Chuck Bowman, Group Executive Vice President, and Amegy Bank’s One Walk Corporate Chair, has been living with T1D since he was 29 years old.

Bowman notes that Amegy Bank has been involved with JDRF in a number of ways dating back to 2004. In addition to partnering for One Walk, the bank was also the corporate honoree for JDRF’s 2014 gala.

“There are so many people that are impacted by diabetes, including many of our employees, and many of our customers. Amegy Bank is a long time community oriented and focused bank. We are a reflection of the community we serve,” Bowman said.

In addition to being diagnosed with T1D himself, Bowman’s daughter was diagnosed at the age of 7.

“It is a very personal thing for me,” Bowman says about being the corporate chair.

Byrd says that there are multiple misconceptions about T1D, including that it is not a juvenile disease, and that it has nothing to do with diets.

“It’s not because you eat way too much sugar. We do not know what triggers it,” Byrd said.

Byrd continues, “People with T1D, using the right forms of treatment and management, can live a healthy, normal life. They have to become their pancreas in a sense, which can be a burden, but there is a lot of people out there living healthy lives.”

“Living with diabetes means that you live with it every day, 24 hours. You have to take your blood sugars routinely. You have to pay attention to your diet in general. I think a lot of people take that for granted,” Bowman said.

Byrd expects 7,000 - 10,000 people at the One Walk Houston event. The walk is 2.2 miles. People can register to talk until the morning of the event. Check in as 8 a.m. with the walk starting at 9:30 a.m. There will also be a One Walk event in The Woodlands at the Lone Star College Montgomery campus on Nov. 10.

“It will be a great morning of networking and fellowship,” Byrd said. “Across this country in the fall, and in the spring we will have a million people participating in these walks. Our total goal is over $1 million combined.”

Byrd notes that 80 cents to every dollar raised goes toward JDRF’s mission, which is to treat, prevent and ultimately cure. This also includes outreach into the community. When a new individual is diagnosed, JDRF has a team to reach out to those people.

“It’s good to get a call from someone who has been in your shoes and provides a support system,” Byrd said.

“I truly believe that JDRF and the research work that they do, they will find a cure for this disease. Helping to raise money on something that will have such a meaningful impact is so important,” Bowman said.

For more information, and to sign up for the JDRF One Walk, visit https://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR?fr_id=7453&pg=entry.

rebecca.hazen@chron.com

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