Joelle's Gang is the Walk Since 2006 Type

Walking since: 2006
Amount raised: more than $ 450,000

This year, Joelle’s Gang is marking its 10-year anniversary for the TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes in Montreal. For the past decade, this team of extremely passionate people, led by Samantha and Justin Vineberg, their family and friends, continues to be one of the biggest fundraising teams in Canada.

The person who inspires all this effort and dedication is Joelle Vineberg who was diagnosed with T1D at the age of two and is a true “ninjabetic”. She makes diabetes management seem very easy, although it requires a lot of daily work of counting carbs, checking blood sugar levels, taking insulin, changing infusion sites and monitoring glucose levels even during the night. Despite all this, she is very brave and always continues to be a "doer". She is never bored and is always making plans to create a book, a card, or a poster. She loves skiing, basketball, and going to summer camp. Of course, now that she is 12 she loves to spend time hanging out with her friends and striking a pose on Instagram.

On June 14th, Joelle will be joined once again by her family and friends to help support diabetes research in turning type one into type none. Their goal for this year is to raise $30,000 to fund the best diabetes research in the world which will improve the lives of all people living with this disease. JDRF spoke with Joelle’s Mother, Samantha Mintz-Vineberg, to find out what makes Joelle’s Gang so successful as a team:

How did you first hear of the TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes?

We learned about JDRF when Joelle was diagnosed with diabetes in 2004. We had to learn to live with the changes diabetes brought to our lives. Knowing that we were not alone and that Joelle had the emotional support to carry on was extremely comforting. From that time on, we made a commitment to get involved, fundraise for JDRF and contribute to finding a cure.

Why is it important for you to see funds raised for JDRF?

It is important to see funds raised because we are hopeful that with research there will be a cure and improvements made in the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes. We have seen in the past 10 years that there have been great strides in technology and every year scientists learn more about this disease. Innovation is not possible without proper funding and those affected have a vested interest in making a change for themselves and their loved ones. We are hopeful that by raising funds we are investing in the health and future of our daughter and others who live with type 1 diabetes.

What makes Joelle’s Gang so successful as a Walk team?

When we first started walking 10 years ago, the idea was to have people come out and join us for a fun day. The TELUS Walk is a day when we think about what living with diabetes means to our family and we think about actively raising money to fund vital research. From the beginning, we have benefited from family and friends who have been so supportive. Every year, we invite people to join the fun and see the vibrant T1D community unite as one family. Children enjoy the Walk and most of all the inflatable attractions, the face painting and all the wonderful outdoor activities. As a result, participants have been coming back every year! The key is to plan in advance and to give people notice about the event. In addition, our primary focus has been on participation. We always want to have as many team members as possible. As a result people feel that their presence at the Walk is the greatest gift to us. When people truly believe that they matter and can make a difference, the commitment and the fundraising will follow.

How have you benefited from your involvement in the Walk?

We have benefited from a strong sense of community and involvement. Also, having your friends and family come and stand with you year after year is a special gift. You realize that even if you have challenges in your life, having people around you who love and care about you can make the biggest difference.

What advice would you give others that want to participate in the Walk and raise funds for diabetes research?

Tell your story. Share what it means to live with diabetes. Share your success. Share what is difficult. Educate people about what diabetes is and be a diabetes ambassador. When people understand what it means and understand that insulin is not a cure, they will come out and support you. Make it personal, because it is. In the end, we are the ones who have the ability to provoke change by helping JDRF fund the most promising research in the world to find a cure.

Find out more, or support Joelle's Gang.

Lets turn type one into type none