Young runners to support Will’s Way at Carmel Marathon

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By Mark Ambrogi

Shelly Fisher decided the Carmel Marathon and Will’s Way were a perfect match.

Lisa Oberndorfer, a Carmel resident, started the nonprofit organization with her son Will, who has juvenile diabetes. Oberndorfer wanted to help those who are having trouble affording insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

Fisher said 30 children are raising funds to help Will’s Way. Those 30 children will get a free entry for a one-mile run in the 5th Annual Carmel Marathon on April 18.

“Their reward is to get to run a bit of the marathon,” Fisher said. “They’re helping the community. Yet they get to run too. It’s kind of a win-win situation.”

Fisher, a runner herself, will be skipping the Carmel Marathon to take part in the Boston Marathon on April 20. But her daughter Julia, a Cherry Tree Elementary fifth grader, is participating in the one-mile run.

“I think teaching other kids (about Will’s Way) can help other people, too,” Julia said.

Julia had a lemonade stand to raise money and plans to have a bake sale and walk dogs for donations.

Her Cherry Tree fifth-grade friends, twin sisters Ellie and Emma Marsella, participate with Julia in Pups running program and also among the 30 children taking part.

Ellie and Emma are asking neighbors and friends for donations and plan a lemonade stand. Emma said she plans to do some extra chores around the house.

Will, a 15-year-old Guerin Catholic High School freshman, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago. While Will is the inspiration for the charity, she puts the focus on the other families.

“When someone donates to us it’s a personal one to the family,” Oberndorfer said. “We also help underinsured families, who have insurance but their insurance deductibles are so high they can’t afford these devices.”

For example, Will has provided a grant to Clayton Garrison, 11, so his family could buy a insulin pump. His Yorktown parents both work but have a $5,000 insurance deductible. That has freed Clayton from taking three or five injections per day.

Oberndorfer said another mission of the nonprofit is to show Type I diabetes doesn’t haven’t to limit children’s pursuits.

“Will is a 4.0 student,” Oberndorfer said. “He played on Guerin soccer team and freshman basketball team. So you can live well and thrive as long as you have the tools and education to manage the disease, which is what we want to do for other families.”

For more information on Will’s Way, visitdiabeteswillsway.com. For Carmel Marathon registration information, visitcarmelmarathon.com.

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