Charity fundraiser set to fight diabetes again

Despite raising $20,000 last year, Downhill for Diabetes is focused on expansion.

The fifth annual event, will take place at Pico Mountain Resort  Feb. 21 in Killington, Vermont, raises funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said Lynn Pratt, founder of Donations for Diabetes, the nonprofit that puts on the event.

“In 2010, my daughter was 5 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” Pratt said.  “It is a lot to cope with and learn about, as well as keeping up with it on a day-to-day basis.”

Pratt’s inspiration for the event came from her hopes of finding a way to put a positive spin on her daughter’s disease.

“We needed to do something proactive and positive.  We wanted to feel like we’re making a difference and not just keeping up with the routine,” she said.

Because the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation already sponsors a 5K walk in Burlington — this year’s is happening on May 17 — Pratt decided to be more creative with her fundraising.

“We thought, ‘it’s Vermont.  Let’s ski.’  I wanted to get my kids involved anyway, and the first time that they skied was at the event,” she said.

Last year, the event raised over $20,000.  Skiers collected money from friends and family and earned various prizes for their efforts.

Those who earn up to $50 get a half-price ticket, and those who earn up to $500 ski for free on the day of the fundraiser and get a voucher to ski for free during any other day of that season.

“We actually have quite a few people that can collect up to $500,” said Pratt.  “Kids go out and fundraise like crazy, and then come in with an envelope with, like, $800 dollars in it.”

Over 100 local companies participate in the event.  General Electric in Rutland, the Rutland Regional Medical Center, and RLA Insurance Intermediaries are the fundraiser’s main sponsors.

Pico Mountain donates all of its ski passes, so that 100 percent of the donations the event raises can go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Pratt’s daughter is doing well, she said.  Since 2010, the family has noticed great developments in the field of diabetes research.

“This money’s going towards something,” Pratt said.