Eleven-year-old named ambassador for diabetes walk

Gabrielle Buffington, Staff Reporter

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Eleven-year-old Andrew Morse has been named the 2014 Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes Red Strider Ambassador. He will represent people who suffer from Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes as they fundraise for a cure.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes raises money for the American Diabetes Association. The annual event was created more than 20 years ago, and has raised more than $175,000,000 towards finding a cure for diabetes.

Morse was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 2011. It was difficult for him and his family to adjust to the news, but Morse eventually learned how to maintain a healthy diet, when to take insulin shots and how frequently to check his blood. He and his family also embraced the benefits of staying positive and having fun.

Morse joined the walk for the first time in September of 2012, with 80 members of his family and friends, called “The Drew Crew,” supporting him by wearing matching royal blue t-shirts. The group raised $6,654 total, with $2,646 coming from Morse. Because he raised more than $1,000, the walk recognized him as a Champion to Stop Diabetes. He was subsequently named the 2012 Youth Ambassador.

“Andrew and his entire family are very dedicated and passionate about finding a cure for diabetes,” said Amy Szymanski, manager for the Step Out walk. As a Red Strider Ambassador, the story of Morse’s struggle with diabetes is available on the walk’s website.

“They are a large team that shows up with enthusiastic smiles, matching team t-shirts, and they aren’t shy about asking people to donate to the cause,” Szymanski added.

Morse, who loves to play basketball, baseball and football, will join 800 others for this year’s Step Out walk on Oct. 25 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. He will also be a keynote speaker at the event.

“As a Red Strider Ambassador, it is important for me to do my part and raise awareness to find a cure,” said Morse. “I hope that a cure will be found not just for me, but for everyone that lives with the disease: 29 million Americans.”