Family picks up legacy built by sister, nephew to end Type 1 diabetes

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) – The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said roughly 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year. Many local families went to the annual One Walk on Saturday morning at HudsonAlpha and the Jackson Center to support everyone fighting for a cure for this disease.

Each member of the 70 teams had a specific reason to walk for a cure, especially Keith and Brittany Smallwood.

“This is my sister, Kristen Chambers, and my nephew Clayton Chambers, and they started Team No More Shots a few years ago,” Smallwood said.

Team no more shots raised a little over $6,000 for JDRF. But, their main goal is carrying on Kristen and Clayton’s legacy.

“They never missed a walk, they never missed an opportunity to speak on TV to try to get the word out to help,” Smallwood said. “So, it’s not easy to do but, you know, you have to do something.”

Kristen, Clayton, Kristen’s unborn child, mother Jean Smallwood and nephew Eli Sokolowski tragically died in a fire at a home on St. Clair Lane last August in New Market.

“They’re not here, obviously, they passed away,” Smallwood said. “Basically, we’re here to say God is great, life goes one, causes go on and they would want us to fight for a cure for type 1.”

Now, the family has picked up the journey where they left off.

“Their lives were dedicated to this cause as Clayton was a Type 1 juvenile diabetic,” Smallwood said. “Just because they’re not here doesn’t mean the cause goes away.”

Saturday’s walk was dedicated to the mother and son’s efforts to stop Type 1 diabetets. Smallwood said he hopes the community will help keep their fight alive.

“Don’t just do it this year,” Smallwood said. “Come back year, after year, after year. That’s what this takes to cure.”

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