By Richard L. Gaw
At a time in her life when it would be perfectly acceptable for 11-year-old Amelia Rehrman of West Grove to hide her Type 1 diabetes from the world, she has done the exact opposite. With Amelia’s Diabetes Dash having celebrated its fifth anniversary last Saturday morning at the New Garden Township Park, the condition she has lived with since she was 4 years old has remained a public thing.
For the fifth consecutive year, the community came out to ride bikes, scooters, roller skates, run or simply walk in an event that raised funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Sponsors of the event included the New Garden Township Department of Parks and Recreation, Giant, Costco, Whole Foods, Starbucks, The Fresh Market, the Philly Pretzel Factory, Palm-a-Bagel, Pack-N-Ship, and Sam Talbot. Donations were made of several items, including gift cards, cookbooks, gift baskets and raffles. During the five-year run of Amelia’s Diabetes Dash, the event has raised close to $500 for the JDRF.
“One day I was riding my bike when I was younger, and I decided that because I was living with Type 1 Diabetes, that I would have a bike race to raise money for people who are living with diabetes,” said Amelia, who worked with her mother, Lydia, in organizing the event. “It’s turned out to be a great way to raise money and just have a lot of fun with my friends.”
This past August, Rehrman was one of two delegates selected by the Delaware branch of the JDRF to attend the Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C. There, she met several celebrities whose lives are impacted by diabetes, including actress Mary Mouser, race car driver Charlie Kimball and journalist Leslee Adkins. Writing on her blog, Rehrman said that the conference was the first time she felt comfortable living with diabetes.
“I could be anywhere and somebody would always know how to help me if my blood sugar were to get too high or too low,” she wrote. “I felt independent. I felt more free than I ever felt before. Free to be me.”
To read about Rehrman’s accounts of living with Type 1 diabetes, visit her blog at Peace. Love. Hope. Diabetes. Blogspot.com.