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Madison Walters Selected as Red Strider Ambassador

UPublish story by Melaina Lewis

Madison Walters was recently selected as the 2013 Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes Red Strider Ambassador in Akron. She is serving her second year as the Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association.

Madison is an 11-year-old from Rootstown and will be entering 7th grade this fall. Shortly before her 9th birthday Madi was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After her diagnosis, Madison and her family got involved with the Association’s Step Out Walk and have since raised more than $11,500, in addition to leading the event as the Ambassador.

“My family didn’t know much about my disease and thought it would bring something positive to my life. I am in this for life and I want to make a difference for myself and everyone else with this disease,” said Madison.

“Madi’s diagnosis was a big change for everyone,” said Kathy Walters. “In order to keep a positive outlook, I knew we needed to get involved.”

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is the signature fundraising walk of the American Diabetes Association. Thousands participate in the event throughout Northeast Ohio, many of whom are Red Striders. Red Striders are children and adults living with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes are the reason for the walk and fundraising efforts and are celebrated and recognized throughout the event.

“Raising money is not only fun but a way to meet others in the same situation as I am. The walks are a wonderful way to bring everyone together and not only a source of information, but a positive aspect to living with diabetes,” said Madison.

As a Red Strider, Madison shares her story and is featured on the Step Out website and in all event materials and publicity. In her role, Madison shares her journey with diabetes and why she and her family support the Association.

“Being diagnosed at a young age, diabetes directly impacts Madi at school,” said Kathy. “Kids stare and make comments, only encouraging her to make people aware and knowledgeable about the disease.”

This October, Madison will help welcome over 800 participants to the 2013 Step Out Walk as one of the keynote speakers during its Celebration Ceremony

“The reason I support the ADA is because I’m a little selfish. The ADA is my best hope for changing my diabetes reality,” said Madison.

Over the last several years, Madison has also presented to large groups of business leaders at the Association’s Annual Health and Awareness Breakfasts, stressing the importance of diabetes education, awareness and prevention in the workplace.

In addition to serving as the Red Strider Ambassador, Madison has led her own personal team for the event. Madison and her parents, Mark and Kathy, have hosted “Wacky Hair Days” at Madison’s school, held Donation Nights at several restaurants, placed collection canisters in local businesses, and hosted bake sales, among other activities.

Madison resides in Rootstown with her parents and two younger siblings, Alyssa and Adam. In her spare time, she enjoys playing soccer, swimming, babysitting and spending time with her family.

This year’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes in Akron will be held Sunday, October 6th at Quaker Square. For more information, please visit www.diabetes.org/stepoutakron.


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