‘Hard Walk 2010’ to benefit diabetic kids

Published 11:02 pm Thursday, May 13, 2010

With “Ultramarathon Man” Dean Karnazes as their inspiration and motivation, a group of Troy University friends will embark on a “hard walk” on Monday that will take them from the square in downtown Troy to the sparkling waters of the Gulf Coast.

Jacob Laan and his friends are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking and biking together. However, they have never pushed themselves to the limits – never really “gone out hard and finished harder,” which is Karnazes’ motto.

The group of friends had read about the Ultramarathon Man who completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days and began to toss around ideas about what they could do to “go out hard and finish harder.”

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Of course, their hard finish would be a cakewalk for Karnazes but would be a challenge for them. They began to seriously consider different options and were zeroing in on the PC Challenge – 130 miles from Troy to Panama City. However, one among them said he would have to first get clearance from his doctor.

“We didn’t know until then that he had Type I diabetes,” Laan said.

“He started telling us about the disease. We realized that we could use this ‘walk’ as a platform to help those with diabetes. Our friend told us about a camp for diabetic children that he attended as a kid — Camp Seale Harris at Jackson’s Gap — and where he is now a counselor. So, we decided to get sponsors for Walk Hard 2010 and donations. The money would be used to provide scholarships to help offset the cost of the camp for families that might not be able to pay the full fee for their kids to attend.”

Walk Hard 2010 team members, Laan and Troy University students Ethan Brown, Kyle Crabtree and Austin Bivins and Danuel Laan, a UAB medical student, will take the first step on the “hard walk” Monday morning, May 17, in Troy and take the final step at Pineapple Willy’s on Panama City Beach on Saturday, May 22.

“This event is bigger than all of us,” Laan said.

“It’s about helping young people get a little relief from diabetes so they can attend a great outdoor camp. It’s our chance to help these kids.”

Already, through sponsorships and the generosity of Troy University students, the team has donations totally about $2,500.

Those who wish to support the efforts of these young men may do so by calling 256-244-3944 or visit them at http://walkhard2010.blogspot.com.