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SLC students walk to raise money for juvenile diabetes

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BRASHER FALLS - St. Lawrence Central students did their part on Friday to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in memory of a former student who suffered from diabetes.

Teacher Aimee Perry organized the effort that, in part, remembered one of her students, Lauryn E. Dana, who died in a July 2012 accident near Antwerp along with her mother, Laurie A. Dana; her sister, Caitlyn O. Dana; and her grandmother, Janet P. Dana.

Laurie Dana, 42, was a special education/speech teacher at St. Lawrence Central Elementary School. Caitlyn, 14, was to enter the ninth grade, and Lauryn, 11, was a rising sixth grader. Janet Dana, 69, was a former teacher at Brushton-Moira Central School. Also killed was Caitlyn’s friend, Shannon Planty, 14, a student in the Brushton-Moira Central School District.

Lauryn had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 4 and battled the disease throughout her life, making the fundraiser even more special, according to Ms. Perry.

“Lauryn was a student of mine. She was in my first-grade class. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 4 years old.

This year another student in her class, Cole Reiter, is also diabetic. He was diagnosed when he was 3 years old. Some other members of his family also have diabetes, including his father who is a Type 1 diabetic.

Forty children are diagnosed with diabetes each day, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Ms. Perry had approached the district’s board of education in July about doing something for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She said the walk would help remember the Dana family, but also serve as a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and offer some physical fitness in the process. Students walked by class for 15 minutes on Friday.

“I let the teachers choose the route as long as they go by the Dana memorial” in front of the elementary school,” Ms. Perry said Friday as more students made their way outdoors.

There, they received a helium-filled balloon, which they released in front of the memorial, which bears the pictures of Laurie, Caitlyn and Lauryn.

The efforts also included a guest speaker, Stacy Howlett, who talked to middle and high school students about diabetes, and elementary school students watched an educational video that gave facts about diabetes and showed what happened to the body of a diabetic. Through the video, students also learned that everyone, including famous people, can suffer from diabetes, Ms. Perry said.

There were also morning and afternoon announcements on the school’s public address system that gave information about diabetes and tips such as eating healthy and exercising regularly.

There was also a fundraiser in which students sold paper sneakers for donations.

“The lobby is full of them,” and several more were waiting to be put on the walls, according to Ms. Perry.

Students took them home to sell and had a week before the money had to be turned in to the school.

“They went home with envelopes last Wednesday or Thursday and had until today,” she said.

Cole himself collected $80 for the cause.

“I said thank you for donating,” he said.

On Friday, students made their way outside and took a walk around the campus to wrap up the event.

“Each class had a balloon to release,” Ms. Perry said, and there was also a poster where each student placed their sticker so they could determine how many had walked that day.

She said she was fortunate to have the assistance of the school’s PTO in planning the event.

“The PTO helped tremendously. It was difficult, it was just time-consuming. Getting all the envelopes to all the students took time,” Ms. Perry said.

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