• Downhill for diabetes event this weekend
    By Anders Ax
    Staff Writer | February 19,2013
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    After learning their daughter Ashley was a type 1 diabetic, Lynn Pratt and her husband Bradley created a nonprofit charity program, Donations for Diabetes, to raise money and help fund a cure.

    Within a month of the diagnosis, as a way to cope with her 5-year-old daughter’s illness, she and her husband set up a ski and snowboard event at Pico Mountain Resort in Killington. The third annual Downhill for Diabetes Ski and

    Snowboard Event will be held Sunday to continue funding diabetes research.

    “I needed to do something overall, not just day to day,” Pratt said.

    Similar to a donation walk, the Pratts’ event makes use of Vermont’s winter sport past time with all the proceeds earned donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

    In its first year, February 2011, the event raised $8,500. In 2012, a severe lack of snow almost cancelled the event, but then Pratt said the mountain received enough snow to carry on and earn $14,500.

    After breaking $14,000, Pratt remembered thinking, “I don’t know how I’m going to beat it next year.”

    This year, many local business are donating prizes and raffle items for the event. So far, Pratt said, $1,500 in prizes have been raised, some for the 10 a.m. to noon ski course.

    “We have a huge amount of local businesses getting involved,” said Pratt. “Lots that are making donations and being sponsors.”

    Other business and major sponsors, Pratt said, have already raised $4,000 in donations for the event. Pratt was very thankful for three major sponsors: Rutland Regional Medical Center, RLA Insurance and General Electric Volunteers. Each donated beyond the $250 major-sponsor level.

    For people wishing to register for the event, visit www.donationsfordiabetes.org by Saturday night. After collecting donations and bringing them to the second floor in Pico’s ski lodge between 8 and 11 a.m., skiers and snowboarders can purchase tickets for a discounted price.

    Raising $50 will earn a half price lift ticket and Downhill for Diabetes hat. With a $200 contribution, participants will get a half price ticket, hat and long sleeve Downhill for Diabetes shirt. Totals of $500 or more get the merchandise and a free full day lift ticket.

    In order to be eligible for the discounts and merchandise, participants must register the day before.

    Pratt said she was thankful for the local help that has gone into publicizing the event.

    “It’s been really nice to see how people help out the community,” she said.

    When Ashley was five, Pratt said her daughter had thought Downhill for Diabetes “was to find a cure for her.” Now, Ashley understands the event is not only for her but for those like her.

    Type 1 diabetes is the result of the body unable to produce insulin, a pancreas-generated hormone that converts sugars and starches into energy required daily. As a result, the body must have insulin replaced in the body by either injection or insulin pump. The American Diabetes Association says that 5 percent of people with diabetes have Type 1.

    Being so small, Ashley’s sugar levels fluctuate a lot. Especially in the cold weather, she has to be tested every 45 minutes. But Pratt said her daughter rarely complains. “She’s amazing,” Pratt said. “The kid is really my hero.”

    “We have to find a cure for this or at least find a better way to manage it so at least her life on a daily basis is easier,” Pratt said. “I’ll do anything to make it easier for her.”

    For more information, event registration paperwork or for information on becoming a sponsor, visit www.donationsfordiabetes.org.
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