A chilly Sunday morning was not enough to keep students from lacing up their running shoes and zipping up their sweatshirts in order to fight a deadly disease.
Ramapo held its annual Dash for Diabetes 5K, ran by the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Club. Those willing to get up and take on the challenge were ready to go at the Arch to run 3.1 miles around campus to raise awareness for diabetes and the fight to cure it.
The event not only was meant to raise awareness, but also money to help fund research towards the condition. A donation allowed students to run in the 5K and gave them the opportunity to win prizes from a raffle and get some food and refreshments after the run.
“We really wanted to raise awareness for the epidemic of diabetes in this country, and continue what we did last year and raise a lot of money for this effort that means a lot to so many people,” said senior Sydney Kauffman, co-president of the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Club.
Kauffman is not wrong in using the word “epidemic.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.1 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes in 2015, with a potential 7.2 million more undiagnosed. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America and there is still no cure for the disease. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes contribute to these numbers and millions of Americans are at risk of developing the deadly disease.
Events like the Dash for Diabetes 5K are extremely important to raise awareness for the fight against the disease, as many are uneducated on exactly what diabetes is.
“I think a lot of us, especially on a college campus, take for granted just how healthy we are,” said senior and co-president of the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Club Gabrielle Foster, continuing, “So to just be able to raise awareness for the disease through a 5K is great.”
With so many people diagnosed with the disease, it is not difficult to find a personal connection with someone who is affected by diabetes. Foster mentioned that both of her parents are diagnosed and that her younger brother and grandmother were walking the 5K.
Some at the event were not only helping the cause by running the 5K, but they also plan to go into a career that works directly with people who suffer from diabetes.
Kristen Ruggiero, a sophomore nursing major, plans on pursuing endocrinology, a branch of health care and medicine specializing in diseases like diabetes.
“It gives you a sense of fighting back against this disease, and I think it is so overlooked because people can live relatively normal lifestyles with it,” said Ruggiero. She too has loved ones who suffer from the disease, and hopes that her career choice can help make a difference in fighting back against the disease.
Kauffman added that living a healthy lifestyle was important in addition to raising awareness, and events like the Dash for Diabetes encourage people to be more healthy and active. Whether one is spending a Sunday morning or an entire career battling the disease, the fight for diabetes is ongoing.