With help from her family, church and community, an 11-year-old Troutman girl is organizing a walk and bicycle rides to benefit the Charlotte chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Carson LaBelle came up with the idea for the "1st Annual Troutman Ride and Stride" after wanting for years to help two of her younger cousins who were diagnosed with the disease. Carson is a sixth-grader at Troutman Middle School.
She was 6 or 7 when her cousin Carter Warlick, now 10, was diagnosed with the disease. Carter's brother, Parker, 8, also has juvenile diabetes. The brothers also live in Troutman.
"She was crushed," Carson's dad, Rodney LaBelle, said of when Carson learned of Carter's diagnosis.
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Rodney LaBelle, his wife, Tamara, and their other two children, daughter Addison, 9, and son, Chase, 7, are also helping with Carson's effort, along with about 40 or 50 volunteers.
The family attends Watermark Church, which will host the benefit at 2 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Troutman Middle School.
The event will include organized bike rides of 25 and 50 miles, a 5K walk and a mile fun walk.
Also featured will be music by Main Channel, food by Outback Steakhouse, prizes and celebrity appearances. NASCAR driver David Reutimann and former Dallas Cowboy Vinson Smith have said they'll appear.
Rodney LaBelle, product sales manager at Kewaunee Scientific in Statesville, said the minimum goal is to raise $10,000, with all proceeds going to the Charlotte chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The ultimate goal, Carson said, "is to help find a cure" for juvenile diabetes.