When more than 1,000 guests arrive at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari on May 19, they won’t be there just to ride The Voyage, 2011’s No. 1 Wooden Roller Coaster on the Planet, or to partake in the free unlimited soft drinks and sunscreen. Registered participants, who must raise at least $100, join the hundreds of community volunteers in the seventh annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes. This Indiana chapter event attracts volunteers connected with children, adolescents, and adults with Type 1 diabetes and is the single JDRF walk that journeys through an amusement park.
When Holiday World founder William Koch passed away in 2010 due to Type 1 diabetes complications, a “natural and strong relationship” developed between JDRF and the park, recalls Ashley Craig, special events coordinator of the foundation. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15,000 children, as well as 15,000 adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year. As the largest charitable supporter of Type 1 research, JDRF offers opportunities for treatment, cure, and prevention.
For one mile, walkers travel through the main entrance, pass rides such as The Legend and Pilgrim’s Plunge, and finish at the picnic area for lunch. All participants receive a T-shirt and admission to the park. This year, magicians and clowns entertain kids prior to the walk, which is held in the Legend Parking Lot across from the entrance.
“For seven years, there’s been so much support in this local community,” says Craig. “It’s definitely something to boast about.”