By Cindy Proctor
Lisa Taylor’s JDRF story starts in Queens, NY when her daughter was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 10 months. That was 24 years ago, and Lisa has not stopped working and hoping for a cure since that time. Her tenacious determination to continue raising money and awareness about the need for a cure is an inspiration to all who have been touched by T1D.
At the time of her daughter’s diagnosis, Lisa worked for Kraft Foods. She first contacted JDRF with a request for referrals of caregivers educated in the oversight of children with diabetes. The local chapter did not have any suggestions but asked that she share the names of any skilled T1D caregivers she discovered. She ultimately found a knowledgeable caregiver and decided to become more involved with the New York City chapter. She participated in their annual Walk to Cure Diabetes and convinced Kraft to donate food to the walk, a first-ever contribution for the company.
After moving to Fredericksburg, Lisa inquired about a Walk to Cure Diabetes in her area. Upon learning that a sponsored walk in Fredericksburg did not exist, she decided to start one in 2001. Nine people participated in the walk on the Fredericksburg Battlefield, raising $3000. The staff wanted to continue the walk in 2002 and asked Lisa to coordinate it. And, as they say, the rest is history. The 2014 Fredericksburg Walk to Cure Diabetes will be the 13th year for this event. Each year has seen an increase in participation and revenue with 500-600 walkers raising $70K in 2013.
Lisa’s vision for the Fredericksburg Walk to Cure has continued to grow as she strives to increase awareness about the Walk and the need for more money to fund research for better treatments and a cure for diabetes. She has recruited a solid team of volunteers, solicited corporate and local sponsors, organized goody bags, and researched entertainment, including bands, theater groups, a trumpeter to lead the Walk, etc. Suffice to say, she is the indefatigable backbone of the event, and her dedicated leadership has been the key ingredient in its ongoing success.
Lisa admits that each year’s preparation for the Walk is somewhat daunting. But she is more determined than ever to work toward a cure since her second daughter was diagnosed with T1D in 2007. Both daughters are thriving now, and Lisa is clearly very proud of the accomplished and successful young women they have become. Her elder daughter, Elissa, a graduate of JMU, lives in Silver Spring, MD and works for a non-profit in Alexandria. She is a former Miss Fredericksburg and Miss Virginia Beach and was 4th runner up to Miss Virginia in 2012. She also was a top 10 in Miss Maryland 2013. Lisa’s younger daughter, Genaya, is a VCU junior majoring in psychology. She is in the ASPIRE program, which is a community service-based program.
Lisa, like many T1D parents, worries about how the disease will continue to impact her daughters’ lives. So, she remains steadfast in her resolve to do all that she can until a cure is found. The goal for the 2014 Fredericksburg Walk to Cure Diabetes is $75,000. It’s certainly an ambitious goal but definitely attainable with Lisa Taylor holding steadfast at the helm.
Please click here to learn more and register for the Fredericksburg Walk to Cure Diabetes at Loriella Park on May 3.