Vermont couple run length of state to support diabetes treatment

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:32 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Northfield husband and wife are embarking on a journey they won’t forget. Starting Friday, they are running the entire state of Vermont from south to north.

Brad Johnson and his wife Emily Levan are running more than 210 miles along Route 100. They’re hoping to do it in six days, which comes out to about 35 miles a day.

The journey is to raise money for Gifford Health Care’s diabetes clinics in Berlin and Randolph. Johnson is a Type 1 Diabetic, first diagnosed about 25 years ago. He’s a logger who works and plays outside more than 300 days a year with an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. He attributes his good health and success to the years of care he’s received from the team at Gifford.

The money raised by the run will help fund access to the same medical equipment that’s enabling Johnson to take on this challenge. “Diabetes is a crushing disease in many ways, but one of the pieces is access to insurance, good health care, and the tools you need to manage it. So, very close to home for me. It feels very personal, so I’m glad to support them,” Johnson said.

“We felt like this was an opportunity to give back to a local resource that we’ve really benefited from, and also I think to show folks that have diabetes and other chronic illnesses that whatever goals you want to set are attainable,” Levan said.

The run itself was actually Levan’s idea. She finished as the first American woman in the Boston Marathon two years in a row and competed in the U.S. Olympic trials for the marathon. She also has the course record for men and women at the VT 100K.

The staff at Gifford Health Care has provided diabetics like Levan with a number of services including nutrition, education, exercise counseling, medication, and blood glucose monitoring.

“The fact that they chose our clinic to be the beneficiary of their fundraising is really exciting and surprising,” said the clinic’s Katie John.

“They’re passionate about a lot of things and he’s always been a big runner, biker, which has been one of the challenges with him on trying to keep his pump on, his sensor on. Diabetes is a really expensive disease. So, if there are ways we can help other people, how is that not fun? How is that not exciting?” said Gifford’s Jennifer Stratton.

The money raised so far will pay for an insulin pump and also a protective case for one of the clinic’s autistic patients who has broken a couple of his pumps.

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