Utahns walk to bring nation one step closer to a cure for Type 1 diabetes

SALT LAKE CITY - The country is one step closer to finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Despite the cold rain, hundreds of families came out to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation One Walk at Liberty Park on Saturday.

Families have been fundraising all year to raise money to donate toward finding a cure for Type 1. The JDRF has been around for 45 years, and while there is a lot of new technology to manage the medical condition and control it, there is still no cure.

This year, the walk gathered more than $375,000 in donations from families and sponsors. Fox 13 is a new sponsor this year and built a team that raised more than $1,000—all for JDRF.

Many families wore T-shirts detailing who they were supporting as they walked together. One team called “Super Z Men” was supporting 5-year-old Zane. More than a dozen people dressed up like superheroes with bandannas that said “Z” on the front. They also wore capes made my Zane’s mother on their backs, each marked with the letter “Z".

“Zane loves super heroes,” said Zane’s dad, Jeff Hardman. “He is 5 years old, he was diagnosed three years ago.”

While their family, also known on Saturday as superhero team members, were happy to be there and support each other and Zane, it wasn’t always a cheerful time managing Type 1 diabetes with Zane.

“Devastating at the beginning for sure, and support, you need support,” said Zane’s mother, Katie Julien.

“He was still in diapers, he was 2-years-old, and his diapers in the morning were just soaked, so we knew something was up,” described Hardman as he went through how they found out Zane was a diabetic. “We had his blood checked, and, sure enough…”

From there, like many young children diagnosed with Type 1, Zane started taking insulin injections. That part was the hardest. But after a few months, he started using an insulin pump and was able to only have to inject the pump’s insertion set once every three days.

“The shots went from six a day to once every three days, it was just life changing,” Hardman said.

Zane also manages his diabetes by using a CGM, a Continuous Glucose Monitor. It allows him to know what his blood sugar is every five minutes, however, it is also inserted into him with an injection about every seven days. His family hopes the money everyone is working so hard to raise will find them a cure in Zane’s lifetime.

“The smart insulin, the pancreas beta cell encapsulation, and the bionic pancreas are all great things leading us to that cure,” said Julien as she held Zane on her hip with his red “Z” men cape wrapped around him.

Part of the money donated goes to the University of Utah where scientists there are working on finding a cure. Click here for more information about the walk.