Noah marches through Eagle County: 11-year-old walking across America to raise Type I Diabetes awareness | VailDaily.com

Noah marches through Eagle County: 11-year-old walking across America to raise Type I Diabetes awareness

Noah Barnes, 11, and his family entourage trekked through Eagle County this week as part of his walk across America to raise awareness and money for Type 1 Diabetes. Noah's March launched fro Key West, Florida, on Jan. 1 and plans to conclude in Blaine, Washington, in November.

EAGLE COUNTY — Clad in a bright yellow vest declaring "Noah's March," 11-year-old Noah Barnes strode through Eagle County this week as he works toward his goal of walking across America to raise awareness and money to cure Type 1 diabetes.

Just past Dotsero, at the entrance to Glenwood Canyon, Noah will hit the 2,600-mile mark of his 4,000-mile journey. And frankly, with Vail and Loveland passes now behind him, his journey will be all downhill from here.

He started his march back on Jan. 1 in Key West, Florida, and if all goes as anticipated, he will finish his trek on Nov. 18 in Blaine, Washington. His route started at the southeastern tip of the country and will conclude at the most northwestern point of the continental U.S. Along the way, Noah will have traversed 10 states.

Noah's March is a family affair involving Noah's parents, Robert and Joanne, and siblings Jonathan, 8, and Angela, 4. As its name declares, the march was inspired by Noah himself.

Early diagnosis

Noah was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 16 months of age, and spent a week recovering in the hospital. He has been living with the daily struggle of managing his diabetes ever since.

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After stumbling across an article about a diabetes walk fundraiser, he asked his dad, "How far do I need to walk so that I can be cured?"

Shortly after, Noah watched a documentary, "Into the Wind," about Terry Fox, who ran across Canada in 1980 with one leg. Terry's "Marathon of Hope" inspired Noah to walk across America for diabetes research.

The march does have a website and a GoFundMe page, but Robert noted that he and his wife have put their home on the market and emptied out their bank accounts to launch the march.

"If you are looking at ways to make money, this isn't it," Robert said. "As a parent, I just felt it was my obligation to help Noah do this. As long as he could physically do this, we really wanted to support him."

Highs and lows on the road

For parents who face the very real struggle of helping a child manage Type 1 diabetes, the idea of walking across the country with three kids and a dog might sound unfathomable. The family Jeep is their support vehicle and a jogging stroller carries water, snacks, rain gear, other essentials and, at times, Angela. One parent routinely scopes out the path ahead while the other walks with Noah. Jonathan and Angela walk much of the time, and ride the rest. The family averages from 12 to 20 miles day.

At the end of the journey, Noah will become the youngest person to ever walk across America in a documented journey.

"There are less than 300 people who have walked across American since we stared recording it," Robert said. "The youngest person to do it previously was 15."

Noah said his best day on the road was when he visited Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he visited a tank battalion. His hardest days were back in Georgia when the family faced lots of cold, rainy weather.

"The last week was his hardest week," said Robert, noting the mountain pass challenges he faced. Equally challenging were the 100-degree days when they walked across Missouri and Kansas.

But Noah insisted there hasn't been a day when he was ready to quit.

"I am pretty motivated to get a cure for diabetes," he said.

To learn more about Noah's March, visit http://www.noahsmarch foundation.org or the Noah's March Facebook page.

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