UC Davis senior Shanna Wagner has Type I diabetes. Rather than accept her situation, she decided to do something about it.
Wagner decided to help in the battle against diabetes by leading the Diabetes Dash at UC Davis, a two mile run/walk set to take place at the Arboretum on Sunday, May 31 at 10 a.m. The money raised will be donated to the UC Davis Medical Center for endocrinology research.
The idea for a marathon came to Wagner during a recent trip back to Davis.
“It was on of my last drives back to Davis since I’m graduating this year,” Wagner explained. “I thought: I’ve done school, had a job, had an internship, been in a sorority, but I wanted to do something else. I wanted to give back.“
From this initial desire, Wagner has managed to form an up-and-coming marathon that does just that. Wagner decided to combine her awareness for the condition she and many others share with a hobby of hers – running – to develop the Diabetes Dash.
Wagner, a psychology and communication double major, recalled her experiences with diabetes, which, when she has low blood sugar, makes her dizzy and slightly disoriented. Such experiences have intensified Wagner‘s drive to help defeat diabetes.
Approximately 7.8 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Wagner‘s father, who is also diabetic, has also been on a quest to find a way to beat diabetes.
“He‘s heard for years that there is a closer cure and had slightly given up hope after he had frequently heard about the possibilities but never saw results,“ Wagner said. “I guess I wanted to keep that hope going.“
Going into the process, Wagner realized that planning the fundraising marathon was more work than it appeared.
“I have put more hours into this than into school,” Wagner said. Organizing the event required meetings with Campus Events, SPAC, Risk Management, Food and Health, Aggie Hosts and a plethora of other organizations. Along with meetings, Wagner was also responsible for advertisements, gaining sponsorship and tabling.
“There were a few times I wanted to quit,” Wagner said. “There were too many rules and regulations, costs and procedures, but I stuck with it.“
Though Wagner was responsible for single-handedly managing many parts of the Diabetes Dash, she also had help from her sorority sisters at Pi Beta Phi and her friends and family.
“I told [my sorority sisters] that I was taking this on myself, but I’d love it if they could help under their name,” Wagner said. “They have supported me; a few have helped with tabling, getting donations, making announcements, helping with advertising and registration.“
One Pi Beta Phi sister who has helped significantly is senior Maggie Derk, a community and regional development major.
“When Shanna announced at a meeting that she was planning [The Diabetes Dash], it sounded like it was small as far as the number of people involved,” Derk said. “I thought they could use the help.“
Along with help from her sisters, Wagner has received help from her father, her boyfriend Max Shmitz, Pi Phi mother Diann Botelho, and sponsors which included Fleet Feet, Target, STA Travel, Nature Made and Soy Joy.
“I started doing this just to be a support system to Shanna – it’s a big undertaking for one person,” said Schmitz, a senior political science major. “Now I’m starting to really get into it. I feel like it’s partly mine, too.“
Wagner is hopeful that her efforts will pay off in some manner.
“Even if I don’t have enough money to donate as I hoped for, it is more about getting the word out,” Wagner said. “I’m bringing awareness to what the cause is, how to deal with it, and how to help.”
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