2019 One Walk Highlights

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15 Years a Fundraiser!
The Schwartz’s Team-Robert Schwartz  

15 years ago, Robert Schwartz took his first step at the 2005 JDRF One Walk, Manhattan to Brooklyn. “It was like seeing a Miracle come to life.” Robert recalls seeing all the Walkers, Tourists, and Participants crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and feeling inspired by the community. Robert’s Grandmother had passed away from type 1 diabetes (T1D) and his nephew was also diagnosed with T1D 5 years ago. 

 He knew that getting involved with JDRF would help bring awareness to the disease and fundraising would further the progress being made in the field.  

“I wrote letters to my friends, my family, and while I worked as an Assistant Manager at CVS I would ask my costumers to support my team as well.” Year after year, Robert has surpassed his previous year’s fundraising total.  

“When I ask my neighbors to donate I feel supported. You got to ask. And you have to follow up. I’m always so thankful and surprised by the support and amount I receive from some of the great people who have donated to my team.”  

Robert works to engage and fundraise for his team, and he is also a veteran V1P! Being a V1P is something that Robert takes great pride in achieving every year.                                 

“Being a V1P means that through my ambition and determination, I am able to have a positive impact on family and friends to raise at least $1000 each year. Continuing to fundraise for JDRF, even if my contribution is small, is having real impact. It was an incredible feeling knowing my hard work helped with the DexCom manufacturing. My wife who is also diabetic wears one and I am able to follow her on my phone and make sure she’s healthy.”  

Robert’s commitment and enthusiasm are extraordinary. His excitement for this year’s One Walk is palpable and he’s already started his letter writing campaign. He’s set his team’s goal to be the highest it’s ever been.  

“I’m going to raise $5,000. I have real hope for this year and I know I can get there.”  

We can’t wait to see Robert hit this goal and go beyond. Thank you Robert for you amazing support and all your efforts to turn type 1 into type none!         

Two Places, One Walk
Esmin’s Crew – Dia Vukovic  

“This wasn’t just a Walk, it was a Walk for my son,” Dia Vukovic vividly recalls stepping onto Foley Square for the JDRF One Walk for the first time after her son Esmin’s diagnoses of type 1 diabetes (T1D). After reaching out to the Staten Island Board, Dia signed Esmin’s Crew up for their first One Walk in Manhattan. “It was a beautiful morning and I remember stepping out of our car and seeing the arch and hearing the music. I started seeing all the teams and their t-shirts and was filled with joy and of course I started crying.”  

Every year, Dia, Esmin, and their team come out to the JDRF One Walk. Esmin’s Crew is unique for many reasons but what is super special about this team’s participation is that they attended the Manhattan to Brooklyn AND Staten Island One Walks this past year. Community and support are two staples to ANY One Walk event. However, each Walk site has its own flavor.

“The Staten Island One Walk is a great time for Esmin to get his School friends together. I love seeing the support for him and I love seeing Esmin advocate for himself.” The Staten Island One Walk is held at the College of Staten Island on a huge lawn. It’s impossible not to feel the support of this community and the Walk itself feels like a huge family picnic celebration.   

“The Manhattan Walk will always hold a special place in our heart because it was the first time I saw other kids with T1D running around and smiling. They were happy and were excited. I knew Esmin was going to be more than okay after seeing these kids at the One Walk. I didn’t feel Esmin or I or anyone was alone in this anymore.” 

Esmin’s Crew has been participating in the One Walk for 8 years.

“Esmin was 5 and now he’s 13. It’s incredible how far we’ve all come since his diagnosis. JDRF has given me more hope in that one day whether it be a cure or an easier way of managing it. The sense of security after getting involved is close to my heart and family and we look forward to Walk Day like it’s a Holiday every year.”

Rufus Makes an Appearance Outside the Bag of Hope
Seek Volunteer – Carina Persaud 

“Can I be this hype?” thought Carina Persaud as she watched YouTube videos on “How to be a Mascot” and prepared for her important role as “Rufus the Bear” at this year’s JDRF One Walk, Manhattan to Brooklyn. When a child is diagnosed with T1D, many families find JDRF’s Bag of Hope a useful and comforting tool especially with the addition of their new friend Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes. After attending an info session on volunteer opportunities through her school’s SEEK program, Carina was determined to continue to bring the welcoming and friendly energy of Rufus alive at this year’s Walk. 

“I loved being Rufus. I’m actually really shy but everyone was so encouraging and I got to meet so many new people,” comments Carina. 

“I didn’t know a lot about this disease but seeing how big the community was made me realize ‘Wow this is important.’ People brought their whole families and hundreds of friends and everyone was so happy, it honestly made my day.” 

Carina went above and beyond greeting, hugging, high-fiving, and even rolled around with some other furry animals.

“I had families come back 3 times and I thought ‘YES! They’re having a great time!’ The best feeling was when a little kid was shy at first but then ended up hugging me.” 

Rufus was one of the highlights at this year’s One Walk. Carina and the many volunteers who come out to support the One Walk contribute to the joy and hope felt in this community. We can’t thank her, SEEK, and all the volunteers who come out to support each other at the One Walk every year. Thank you to our volunteers for all your efforts.  

PSA: the Rufus the Bear costume is washed and dry cleaned after worn.