Since 2015, the Countdown to None 5K, an annual race on New Year’s Eve, has succeeded in not only raising funds for type one diabetes (T1D) research, but bringing a massive T1D awareness to the Vienna, VA community. However, founder Cassie Jackson and her partner-in-crime, Stacey Johnson, both mothers to young girls living with T1D, were nervous in the early morning hours of race day in 2017. A forecast of only 20 degrees and 15 mph winds along with snow and black ice made for some very unideal running conditions.
“We were so full of nervous tension about would we be able to pull it off. Stacey and I were literally out on the trail with a broom sweeping sections and spreading ice melt. We had some amazing volunteers and sponsors who showed up for us in a big way to make the run successful. The strong sense of community and accomplishment rang loudly that night in the heart of Vienna,” said Cassie.
Now in its third year, Cassie feels like the event has become a real staple.
“Now that this is our third year it feels like we have gained great traction,” said Cassie, “This year, we had 460 registered runners, 30 businesses and local organizations sponsored, along with 43 family sponsors to raise over $28,000. Even with weather forecasted below freezing, we still had over 160 people register on race day. In the 3 years, Countdown to None has raised over $60,000 for JDRF!”
That traction not only raises the event’s goal every year, but continues to bring together T1D families looking to get involved. Sarah Berry, whose young daughter has T1D, found support in the run.
“We met [the Jackson’s] soon after our daughter’s diagnosis,” said Sarah, “They were the only other faces of T1D we knew, and learned everything we could from their experiences and tips. Cassie invited us to take part in the 5K in 2016. We all ran and were hooked. The atmosphere, the cause, the emotions…it is happy, awe-inspiring and especially intense for this T1D family. We were so thrilled to take on a larger role this year and many to come.”
With the race’s continued success comes further partnership with JDRF, as the Countdown to None 5K will now be a Premier Sponsor for the JDRF One Walk in Washington, DC.
Said Cassie, “We feel we are so close to finding a cure, like we can really win this one! We want to represent the T1D community as active and athletic, and bring a larger awareness of what this disease really is.”