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Local kids fundraise for friend with diabetes
Ellie fundraiser pic
Lincoln Hart, Nolan Walker, Jackson Hart and Drew Walker hold up their cousin and dear friend Ellie Hart who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in February. The boys are holding a jog-a-thon on Monday to raise funds for Ellie to buy a service dog. - photo by Photo Contributed

A group of local youngsters are rallying on behalf of their friend Ellie Hart so that she can have a service dog to help her cope with her recent diagnose of juvenile diabetes. 

When seven year old Hart was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in February, it was a blow to close friends and family.

“Our friends were in shock because one moment she was healthy, the next moment she wasn’t,” explained April Walker.

Hart’s life has changed drastically since her diagnosis as she has to be checked roughly eight to 15 times a day to ensure her blood sugar levels are healthy, proving a taxing task for both Hart and her parents.  However, as an avid reader and piano player, Hart has been a star student and exhibited this spirit when facing life’s most recent challenge.

“She is a tough little girl. She is so happy-go-lucky and strong,” said Walker.

To ease Hart’s new circumstances her doctor suggested the family try and attain a service dog that is trained to accommodate children in Hart’s situation. However, the dog costs roughly $20,000. So, in an effort to help their friend, Walker’s two boys — Drew, 10, and Nolan, 7 — have teamed up with Hart’s cousins Jackson and Lincoln of about the same age to host a jog-a-thon fundraiser for Ellie.

“They’re like all brothers and sisters,” explained Walker, noting that the kids have already raised over $1,000.

Inspired by a fellow friend that is hosting a golf tournament later this summer at the Turlock Golf and Country Club to help Hart, the boys were eager to find a way to contribute to Hart’s cause.

“Our boys have been really affected by Ellie’s diagnosis and I think that it is neat that anyone, no matter what age you are, can be helpful in light of a difficult situation,” said Walker. “Despite her diagnosis Ellie still shines and the boys want to continue to help her shine.”

The jog-a-thon will take place at 9 a.m. on Monday at Pitman High School. Those interested in donating to Ellie Hart or participating in the jog-a-thon can contact April Walker at 485-3873.