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Union Mortgage Team Marissa

Union Mortgage Team Marissa—Frederick, MD Step Out to Fight Diabetes

Chris and Kristie Genovese, Co-Chairs, Frederick, MD Step Out to Fight Diabetes

When their daughter Marissa was first diagnosed with diabetes in August 2005, Chris and Kristie Genovese were shocked. "It was a life-changing moment," said Kristie. "I wasn't sure if it was [caused by] something that I did? Diabetes does not run in our family."

Chris and Kristie immediately went online, looking for more information about diabetes and ways they could support their daughter. When they discovered the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) walk, they quickly put together a team for the fall Baltimore event. "The first year [we participated], it was a way to let our family and friends know what was going on with us, "said Kristie.

At the walk, the Genoveses enjoyed meeting other families facing the same challenges they were. "We met a lot of different people [who were dealing with diabetes]," said Kristie. "They told us their stories and showed us how this disease would become a part of our lives."

It turns out they were right. Marissa, who will be five years old in May 2007, slowly adjusted to life with diabetes. "It took her awhile to get used to the finger pricks and the shots," said Kristie, "but now we have a routine down, and she knows that it's just something we have to do."

Marissa not only has the support of her parents and her brother, Anthony, age 5, but also of her school nurse. "Marissa's school nurse is very involved in her care. She came to our home to learn more about Marissa's routine, and she calls me at least once a month to see what her [blood sugar] levels have been in the mornings," said Kristie.

Chris, a mortgage banker for Union Mortgage Group, saw an opportunity to get his company and co-workers involved in year two. "Everyone knows someone with diabetes," said Chris. "I knew that my co-workers and our clients would want to participate." Union Mortgage Team Marissa successfully raised $3,316 in the fall 2006 walk, nearly doubling their fund-raising efforts and participation from the previous year.

In 2007, Chris and Kristie saw a chance to become even more involved with the ADA as the co-chairs of Frederick's Step Out to Fight Diabetes event. "We had such success forming our own team that it kind of fell into our laps," said Chris, when speaking of their new role. "We want to make [the walk] an even bigger part of our community."

Kristie sees Step Out as part of an important lesson for Marissa. She wants to organize play groups for families who attend the walk and have children with type 1 diabetes. Although Marissa struggles with autism in addition to her diabetes, "She is a very bright, sweet little girl," said Kristie. "I want her to know that she is not the only one who has to deal with this."

Chris and Kristie hope that their proactive involvement with the ADA will set a positive example for Marissa. "We want to teach her she can do anything she wants as long as she takes care of her diabetes."

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The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading 501(C)3 nonprofit charity providing diabetes research, information and advocacy.

Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes® is the premier fundraising campaign of the American Diabetes Association ®, now with virtual engagement designed for anyone and everyone to participate. The campaign has been expanded to include more members of our community and bring them together to learn about diabetes, healthy living and to support people living with diabetes. Step Out is a unique opportunity for businesses, clubs, friends and families to form virtual teams with the vision of a life free of diabetes and all its burdens.

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