Aaliyah Cook and Cassidy Fletcher with a cheque they presented from all JDRF walk participants, which was held in Halifax from 2018. (Submitted photo)

Beaver Bank girl and her friend organizing April 10 Racing for Research

BEAVER BANK: Two young girls are hoping the popularity of go-carting at Kartbahn will help them raise a lot of money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Aaliyah Cook of Beaver Bank and her best friend Cassidy Fletcher of Timberlea are the brains behind “Racing for Research” set for April 10 at Kartbahn in Bayers Lake. It is set to run from 2-10 p.m. with all monies going to JDRF.

Cook and Fletcher both have held fundraisers in the past, and figured go-carting would give them an avenue to attract a younger crowd and thus raise more money to hit their goal of $500.

When Cook was seven-years-old, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). It is an unpreventable autoimmune disorder and is totally different from T2D, which is what most people think of when they hear diabetes.

“Having T1D means that my body doesn’t make insulin anymore so I will need to take insulin for the rest of my life, or until we find a cure, through injections or an insulin pump, which I have now,” said Cook. “My life changed in a big way when I was diagnosed because I needed at least four injections every day, had to poke my fingers eight to 10 times a day to check my blood sugar. I even had to start counting every gram of carbs that I ate.”

She started fundraising initially a few months after she was diagnosed.

“Hearing stories about other people dying from T1D or having to live with long-term complications is really scary,” said Cook.

Fletcher wants to help raise the money with her friend to find a cure through the research.

Why did they choose go-carting as a fundraiser?

“It can get not only kids our age out that would have fun, but also their parents, our family member, and our parent’s friends,” said Cook. “My mom reached out to Lucas at Kartbahn and he was excited to help us. Lucas and John have both been very helpful and supportive.”

She said they will also have some board games and snacks set up in a room so that people can hang around before or after racing.

“Everyone likes go-carting, and doing something that is so popular with youth gives us a better chance of lots of people showing up,” said Fletcher.

The girls do have some prizes, such as a Google home mini for the fastest lap of the day, and a $75 gift card for Boston Pizza that will go to the workplace with the biggest turn out (as an incentive for people to invite their colleagues). There are also a couple of smaller door prizes.

Cook, in Grade 8 at Harold T. Barrett Junior High, and Fletcher, in Grade 8 at Ridgecliffe Middle School, said they have simple expectations for the event.

“Our goals are to spread awareness about T1D and raise as much money as possible to help fund research for a cure,” said Cook.

Both girls said they may take up the challenge request from Reporter Pat Healey to race him on the track.