Lifestyle

Island kids raise money for research

Diabetes research will get a shot in the arm from two local children.

Island kids Sam Bahn, 7, and Jordan Morris, 10, will run and walk in the 23rd annual ``Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes,'' 8k run/4k walk on May 15.

``Beat the Bridge'' starts and ends at Husky Stadium, where participants try to get over the University Bridge before it rises. Bahn, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes two years ago, said that he wants to walk in the event to help raise money to aid research so a cure to his disease can be found before he graduates from high school. Sam can do most everything the other kids in his kindergarten class at Lakeridge Elementary can do, and eat whatever he wants, with a couple of exceptions.

``He can't do sleep-overs, because he gets a shot in the morning that he can't do himself,'' said Betsy Bahn, Sam's mom. ``He has to avoid things like soda and candy with no redeeming nutritional value, but other than that, he just counts carbs in his meals and takes a shot after each one in the school office.'' Last year, 25 of Sam's school friends and teachers got together to walk as a group called Team Sam-I-Am, wearing Cat-in-the-Hat-style striped hats. The group raised $7,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This year, Sam and his friends had a goal of $7,000, but already have raised $11,000.

``Sam is excited because he wants to win a trophy (for raising the most money),'' said Betsy Bahn.

Jordan Morris, a fourth grader at Lakeridge, also was a first-time runner last year, raising $5,000 for the foundation with his team of 85 friends and family. ``Team Jordan'' sported T-shirts bearing Jordan's photo, and Jordan said this year he hopes his team raised $5,000 again to help beat the disease.

``I think they'll find a cure in 10 years,'' he said.

The Morris and Bahn teams were among the top family fund-raising groups in last year's ``Beat the Bridge,'' according to Sarah Popelka, event manage for the JDRF.

``They were extraordinary for first time teams last year,'' Popelka said. ``Our goal is a million this year, so we're looking for a lot of families like the Bahns and Morris to help us out.''

To donate online or register to be on a team, go to www.beatthebridge.org.

Take a deep breath and climb!

Former Island resident Todd Houle intends to climb all 19,300 feet of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa between Sept. 2 and Sept. 16 to raise $10,000 for the American Lung Association of Washington's programs to fund research for cures to emphysema, asthma, tuberculosis and other lung disease, he said. Proceeds from the climb also will send 150 children with asthma to summer camps and train high school students to teach middle and elementary school students about the dangers of smoking. Houle will be climbing with 10 other men and women whose fundraising goal for the climb is $50,000.

Houle completed a ``Climb For Clean Air'' fund-raiser for the ALAW in 2002 and 2003, raising approximately $8,000 by climbing Mt. Rainier.

A 1989 Mercer Island High School grad, Houle said he's always been an active person who loves outdoor sports, like skiing.

For more information on the climb, visit www.alaw.org, or contact Charlie Vanderburg at 441-5100.

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