Unsung Hero: Gayla Borgognoni


By Ashley Smith
By Josue

CARBONDALE -- One step at a time, walkers are hoping to spread awareness and raise money for type 1 diabetes.

"Everything is a little more complicated when you're living with type 1 diabetes," said JDRF Board Member Gayla Borgognoni.

Gayla Borgognoni is a board member for the local chapter of the Junvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF. Gayla spearheaded efforts to bring a walk to southern Illinois last year and is now organizing a second walk.

"I was retiring at the time and I thought what better thing could I do because I want a cure," said Gayla.

Gayla's motivation for helping JDRF comes from watching her own grandson battle the disease.

"She's just the kind of person that constantly wants to give back, she doesn't want any thanks for it," said Gayla's granddaughter Kelsey Cruse, "She just does it because she knows it's the right thing to do and she wants to give back to a community that's given her so much."

While Gayla's grandson is the biggest reason she is involved in JDRF, she also hopes to make a difference for so many others going through the same thing.

"Finding a cure would help so many people who have dealt with it for so long they need a break and a little piece of normality back," explained SIU student Bree Gilbert.

Bree has been living with type 1 diabetes for 11 years. She is constantly checking her blood sugar and adjusting the amount of insulin her pump gives her body.

"I hope for a cure. I hate it, you can't help but hate it," said Bree.

"We need to find a cure for diabetes," added SIU student Sarah Coffey.

Sarah was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago. She was already familiar with the autoimmune disease because both her brother and sister are type 1 diabetics. Sarah's parents even started their own walk in Peoria several years ago.

"I think they're very important because you get to get together with the community and people who understand the disease and their families and friends and other people who have it," said Sarah.

Sarah and Bree are just two of the many faces you will see at the walk to cure diabetes next week. They both encourage you to get out and support the event.

"They can help change a life. It may be someone in their family that they didn't know had it, or it could be them someday," said Bree.

The walk is Saturday, October 26 at the SIU campus boat docks. You have the option of walking one or three miles. Registration begins at 11:00 a.m. with the walk at 11:30 a.m.
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