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Herndon Magnet School, Belcher, LA

Mariah Corbell
Mariah Corbell

Mariah Corbell's passion for making a difference shows that you don't have to be an adult to do great things. When third grader Mariah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she organized a School Walk for Diabetes (SWFD) event to raise awareness and help others at Herndon Magnet School.

Mariah heard about SWFD at Camp Victory, Louisiana's free diabetes summer camp provided by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Counselors at Camp Victory encouraged campers to host a SWFD event at their schools, and Mariah saw this as a great opportunity to help others like her. When the school year started, she went straight to her principal and asked permission to have a SWFD at Herndon Magnet School.

With the help of faculty members, Mariah immediately got started promoting SWFD. She wrote a letter to parents informing them about SWFD, advertised the event in the school newspaper and also helped broadcast an "infomercial” on the school's TV network. Students and faculty responded, raising more than $3,400 to make the event a huge success. The community also got involved when a local news station came and did a story for its health watch segment.

“We have done several other fund raisers before but SWFD felt more personal. We are like a big extended family here at Herndon Magnet, and this was a great opportunity for us to help each other,” said Rachel Corbell, Mariah's mother and a second grade teacher at Herndon Magnet School. “Mariah is proud of herself for learning to live with diabetes and finding a way to help others like her,” she added.

They are already preparing for next year's SWFD, with plans to include a DJ and have students of all ages walk together. Mariah has started a tradition at Herndon Magnet School, and her mission to raise awareness and help others is an inspiration to many other young students with type 1 diabetes.

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