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WR senior raising juvenile diabetes awareness

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WR senior raising juvenile diabetes awareness

Weston Ranch senior Jennifer Acoba is organizing the Cougars Walk for a Cure.

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POSTED February 20, 2009 4:52 a.m.
WESTON RANCH – Weston Ranch High School senior Jennifer Acoba is a big fan of Nick Jonas of the pop group, Jonas Brothers.

She is also a big supporter of the ongoing effort to find a cure for diabetes.

The 17-year-old has found a way to meld her two passions into one project: Cougars Walk for a Cure. Cougars refer to her alma mater’s mascot. The walk is a fund-raiser being held this Saturday on the campus of Weston Ranch to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a 501(c3) – which means donations are tax-deductible – non-profit agency. Registration is $5 per person, with checks payable to JDRF. All proceeds will go to the foundation.

The event, which starts with registration from 8 to 9:30 a.m., is being sponsored by Weston Ranch High’s Safe & Sober Grad Nite Committee. Acoba planned it all in addition to hosting and coordinating it as part of her senior project, a requirement for graduation. Registration will take place at the school.

The walk will be held from 10 a.m. until noon with participants walking approximately 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles around the Weston Ranch neighborhood.

Acoba said she decided “to gear my funds toward the benefit of diabetes awareness and research because of the sudden increase of diabetics diagnosed in the past year.”

Her other inspiration was her own father, Matthew, who found out last year that he is “a borderline Type 2 diabetic.” The good news for her father is that “with some lifestyle changes, he was able to turn that around,” she said.

Prior to his diagnosis though, Acoba’s father did not know that he had diabetes until he experienced mild chest pains in March of 2008.

“When he went to the hospital to get checked out, they discovered that he had suffered a mild heart attack which led to the discovery of his need for an open-heart surgery. During his various blood tests, the hospital discovered that due to poor eating habits, he has become a borderline Type 2 diabetic,” Acoba explained.

As a result, after he checked out of the hospital, “our family turned our lifestyle around and became a more healthy bunch,” which was an added bonus to her father in his line of work, she said.

“He works as a bread delivery man for Sara Lee so his occupation requires quite a bit of physical labor,” she said.

Acoba is the middle of three children. Older sister Jessica, 20, is currently attending the University of California at Irvine where she is a sociology major. Brother Robert who turns 12 on Feb. 20, goes to August Knodt Jr. Elementary School.

Acoba is not the only one in her family who is busy in extracurricular activities at her school. Her mother, Teofina, is the treasurer of Weston Ranch High’s Safe & Sober Grad Committee as well as an active member of the school’s Athletic Boosters Club.

Acoba’s plans after high school is to attend California State University, Fullerton and major in business “with hopes of pursuing a marketing career.”

So where does the Jonas Brothers come into the diabetes-fund raising picture she is hosting? It turns out the youngest member of this singing sensation group, Nick Jonas, has Type 1 diabetes. Being a “hardcore fan” of the singing siblings, this is also Acoba’s way of helping her idol conquer this disease.

Anyone interested in joining the Walk for a Diabetes Cure and would like more information can call Jennifer at (209) 982-0350 or send her an e-mail at jenniferacoba@gmail.com.

For more information about Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit jdrf.org.
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