Third annual outing will be fun, benefit many

Poker Walk/Run/Ride at Cannon Township Trail offers exercise, auction, prizes

The first 50 families to sign up will receive family “fun packs” with plenty of goodies in them. Everyone who signs up will enjoy a day of exercise on the beautiful Cannon Townshsip Trail, auction items, at least one fun mascot kids will adore, prizes, and take part in finding a cure for a disease that is increasing in our society.

Kids have fun with free balloon hats offered at last year’s family fun day. There is more than just a good time outdoors. Walk, run or ride the lovely Cannon Township Trail, but see all the other events offered for participants of all ages.

The third annual Poker Walk/Run/Ride takes place Saturday, April 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Grand prize this year is a $440 bicycle. Other prizes and auction items include a $100 gift certificate to Reds on the River to the second-place winner and $50 and $25 gift certificates, gift baskets, food certificates, apparel and more. The event has become a popular day’s outing with families enjoying the activities and some throwing down blankets for a picnic on the grass. All proceeds go toward the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through Ride for a Cure.

Chris Radford, event organizer, knows about the terrible effects of juvenile diabetes first-hand. His son Scott was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was 11 years old. Today it is estimated that one of every three children born after the year 2000 will have the disease.

For Scott and his family, diagnosis changed their lives. Scott has had to learn to test his blood throughout the day and has an insulin pump installed on his body. Although he is an energetic college student today, he may still face devastating side effects from the disease, including kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness, heart attack and stroke.

“For those who are diagnosed with this, they have it for life. We have to find a cure,” said Chris.

The disease has become one of the three most common in the United States.

The Radfords have taken on the cause of Ride for a Cure as their way to fight back against juvenile diabetes and contribute toward a cure so other children will not face what Scott faces. Chris and Scott took part in a national bike ride two years ago and will go again—this year on a ride through Death Valley. Each participant must contribute to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for the privilege of taking part. Last year the Radfords were able to donate more than $5,000, due to the success of the Family Fun Day. This year the sights are set a little higher. The Death Valley ride requires a contribution of $8,000 toward the cause.

Chris Radford accepts a check for juvenile diabetes research from a team from Spectrum Health. The young man in the picture was diagnosed with the disease last year.

Radford said that for the Death Valley ride, 300 riders have already raised $95,000, with more to come. Participants give the organization their credit card numbers so any money they don’t raise is still guaranteed. Radford is confident he and Scott will raise the money for the JDRF and if some comes out of their own pockets, that would be alright, too. The effort of the foundation is worth any cost.

Among accomplishments of the organization include the development of what amounts to an artificial pancreas. Scott manages his disease by administering blood tests throughout the day and having his pump administer the amount of insulin his body requires. A newly developed device now can be attached to a diabetic’s body that automatically tests blood sugar throughout the day with out finger-prick blood tests.

“It is the equivalent of an artificial pancreas,” said Chris. He said his son opted out of this device because it requires a second external medical device to be inserted into his body, but the breakthrough can make a world of difference in a diabetic who doesn’t want to have to test their blood themselves during the day.

Contributing to such medical breakthroughs may just be secondary to people who attend Family Fun Day to have fun and the chance to win prizes.

The $25 per person donation to participate can be made online and guarantees a JDRF t-shirt and one hand of poker. The first 50 to sign up will also receive the family “fun packs.”

For those unfamiliar with a poker walk/run/ride, the event is simple. Receive a hand of cards and proceed at your own pace along the Cannon Trail. Additional hands can be purchased. Last year the West Michigan Chapter of JDRF raised over $250,000 toward research.

See the grand prize bike at Ric’s Food Center or visit by clicking on Chris or Scott Radford for more information. The Cannon Township website also has links to the site.

Checks may be mailed to JDRF West Michigan Chapter, 5075 Cascade Rd., Suite F, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

“I’m really excited to know I’m having an impact,” said Chris. “As a contributor you will know you have had a part in finding a cure.”

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.