by Cori Hilsgen
Twenty-seven participants rolled along the Wobegon Trail on Sunday, Sept. 9 to raise funds for Adam Perkins, who has Type 1 Diabetes.
Perkins is the son of Sgt. Michael and Amanda Perkins of Fort Polk, La. Adam was diagnosed with the disease at 18 months this past March and requires blood-sugar checks and insulin injections many times daily to regulate his blood sugar. His parents need to check his blood sugar levels 10 to 12 times a day so his glucose levels remain in a safe range.
“Twenty-six in the Sticks” roller-blading marathon fundraiser organizer Kari Jensen and her husband, David, of Minneapolis, heard about Adam’s need through a friend and got in touch with other marathon organizers. Mitch and Erica Evens (husband and wife) of St. Cloud and Christa Pfannenstein of St. Joseph, along with other organizers, agreed they wanted to dedicate the funds raised from the third annual marathon to Adam’s cause.
Jensen, Evens and Pfannenstein are sisters who grew up in St. Joseph. This is the third year they have helped organize the rollerblading marathon fundraiser.
The funds will be used to help purchase a “Diabetic-Alert Dog” to alert Adam’s family to changes in his blood-sugar levels. Blood-sugar highs and lows can often cause organ damage, a diabetic coma and even death. Most monitoring systems available are often 20 to 30 minutes slower than a Diabetic Alert Dog.
The Perkins family is partnering with “Guardian Angel Service Dogs” to raise funds to cover the cost for the dog that is not covered by insurance, about $20,000. The service dog, allowed in public places under the Americans with Disabilities Act, will go with Adam wherever he goes.
Alert dogs can be trained to notice minute changes in the scent of a diabetic’s skin and/or breath and can let family know the blood-sugar level is changing. That becomes especially important at night because many families are afraid to sleep for fear of the diabetic not waking up. At present, there is no cure available for Type I Diabetes – only treatment.
Skaters began the 26-mile ride in Holdingford at 8 a.m. and finished in St. Joseph at noon. Checkpoints included Albany, Avon and Collegeville. Participants were able to pick up water at the checkpoints and were encouraged with the sound of a ringing cowbell.
Temperatures were in the low 60-degree range as skaters crossed the finish line. High winds the day before had left some debris on the trail that skaters had to navigate around. Many saw rabbits, mice and other wildlife along the trail.
Jeff Campbell of Sauk Rapids finished first in the marathon with a time of 1:55. He also finished first in the marathon last year. Angela Viere of Richmond finished second in the trek with a time of 2:00. She said she found out about the fundraiser from a friend. She has participated in the Duluth marathon and liked the fact she didn’t have to drive far and the money raised goes to a good cause.
“It was very beautiful and was nice to have the wilderness instead of city streets,” Viere said.
Anne Roberts of Isanti and Jen Bauer of St. Joseph completed the course for their second year. Both women have been going to the gym weekly and have been doing some skating to prepare for the rollerblading course. Together, they had lost a combined total of 70 pounds before the fundraiser and were able to do the event in an hour’s less time than last year.
“It is a fun time to spend with a girlfriend,” Roberts said.
“It is good bonding time for friends,” Bauer agreed.
Roberts’ and Bauer’s families were waiting to cheer them on as they crossed the finish line. Their children – Riley Roberts and Logan, Brady and Brooke Bauer – waved homemade streamers, greeting them happily as they finished the ride.
Krista and Kimberly Zipp of Sartell also completed the marathon for their second year. They agreed the time seemed to go by faster this year than it had last year. The sisters found out about the marathon because they had attended daycare at Mitch Evans’ mother’s daycare, Rainbow Daycare, when they were younger. Both said it was fun to blade for a cause.
Finishing the marathon were husband and wife Joe and Becky Vos and Deb Gross with her daughters, Amanda and Jessy. Amanda was not able to finish the ride last year due to an injury, so she came back to finish this year.
“We are glad we are doing this for a good cause,” Deb Gross said. “It’s fun to be a part of it.”
Deb said she would recommend training for the marathon.
Many participants were tired as they came across the finish line. Some commented on pain in their back, legs and feet and thought they should have trained more for the event. Participants expressed excitement about crossing the finish line and about supporting Adam’s cause.
Pfannenstein said they couldn’t have asked for a better day for the event.
“There is so much value in helping others,” Pfannenstein said. “It’s always fun to see everyone come together in support of a cause, and such a powerful cause it was this year.”