12-year-old organizes walk, ride for cause

Carson LaBelle was 11 when she organized a walk and bicycle ride last year that raised $7,475 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

She's aiming even higher with her second annual "Troutman Ride and Stride" benefit Sept. 11 at Troutman Middle School: Her goal is to raise $20,000.

"I want to raise enough money so all the diabetes can be knocked out," Carson said.

Carson, now 12 and a seventh-grader at Troutman Middle School, came up with the idea for the event after wanting for years to help two of her younger cousins, who were diagnosed with the disease.

She was 6 or 7 when her cousin Carter Warlick, now 11, was diagnosed with the disease. Carter's brother, Parker, who's about to turn 10, also has juvenile diabetes. The brothers also live in Troutman.

Once again helping with the event are Carson's parents, Rodney and Tamara LaBelle, and her siblings, Addison, 10, and Chase, 8, plus about 40 or 50 other volunteers.

This year's presenting sponsor is Iredell Health System.

The Rotary Club of Troutman also is a big sponsor and will also provide volunteers, said Rodney LaBelle, product sales manager at Kewaunee Scientific in Statesville.

The family attends Watermark Church, which will host the benefit again at Troutman Middle School.

The event will include a 50-mile bike ride at 9 a.m., a 25-mile bike ride at 10 a.m. and 5K walk and one-mile fun walk at 1 p.m.

New this year will be a flag ceremony at about 12:30 p.m. in honor of National Remembrance Day. The ceremony will honor local emergency management workers, firefighters and police.

A silent auction and raffle are also scheduled that day, including condo stays at Hilton Head and Sugar Mountain, two paintings and a full wall mural by Maryland artist Melissa Riley; rounds of golf at local courses; a print from local artist Barbara Shoemaker; and late-model race car door panels donated by NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

A band to be named will play live music. Outback Steakhouse will offer grilled chicken lunches, and former Dallas Cowboy Vinson Smith and NASCAR celebrities to be announced will make appearances.

Runners and walkers are asked to register in advance at www.rideandstride2011

.com. Participants get lunch with a minimum $25 in pledges; those who compile $50 in pledges get lunch and a commemorative T-shirt. Money isn't due until the day of the event.