A year after finding out she had Type 1 diabetes, a shy 8-year-old Nina Kritzberger attended her first JDRF One Walk in Fargo.
Four years later, the Hillsboro seventh-grader is returning to the event as a youth ambassador for children with Type 1 diabetes.
Kritzberger, friends and family will again be participating in the One Walk event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Scheels Arena.
JDRF, or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, hosts the event and chose Kritzberger as one of three state ambassadors supporting Saturday’s walk.
“I’m excited for the walk this year since I’m ambassador, and I’m more confident than I was when I was 8,” she said Wednesday.
“Before that walk, I’d only met one person my age who had diabetes, but now I know a lot of them.”
Kritzberger was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a 7-year-old after sudden weight loss and feeling nauseous during a T-ball game.
Now 12 years old, she recently wrapped up her first year of junior high volleyball and is getting ready for basketball season.
When she’s not participating in activities, Nina is helping her mother, Angela, advocate for legislation to lower insulin costs or appearing in the news to bring awareness to the disease.
“She’s been mentoring other newly diagnosed kids,” Angela said. “It just helps for them to be able to talk to somebody.”
The JDRF One Walk serves to connect people dealing with the disease and promote research and awareness in an attempt to cure Type 1 diabetes.
Angela said Wednesday that through her daughter’s story and outreach, others in Hillsboro have come forward with their personal experiences with diabetes.
“She’s started to do advocacy work, and my hope is that she can be a part of the (JDRF) children’s congress when they go to Washington, D.C.,” Angela said.
More than $32,000 had been raised as of Wednesday as part of this year’s One Walk event in Fargo.
Saturday’s walk will feature roughly 20 teams and 60 walkers pledged to walk more than 140 miles, though hundreds more typically attend the event.
The Kritzberger family ordered One Walk T-shirts for Nina’s seventh-grade class to invite them to come walk as part of Nina’s team Saturday.
COVID-19 precautions have forced a change in the event as there is no set program and people are encouraged to attend in an open-house format.
Last year’s event was done virtually due to the pandemic.
Those interested in participating in or donating to Saturday’s walk can contact Angela at 701-430-2131 or go to www.jdrf.org and search their One Walk events.