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8-year-old battling type one diabetes raising money for JDRF walk

DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- November is national diabetes awareness month, and the JDRF Walk is Sunday. The organization has raised more than $300,000 for type one diabetes research.

Within a few minutes of meeting 8-year-old Marie McCracken, it's easy to fall in love with the little girl.

"I'm in third grade," Marie said. "I really like, well most people say this: recess."

You wouldn't know she's dealing with something tough. Marie was diagnosed with type one diabetes a year ago this week. It's a disease in which the pancreas no longer produces insulin, a hormone your body needs to allow sugar to enter the cells and produce energy. It means a lifetime of insulin shots, pricking fingers, and many highs and lows. If not managed properly it can be deadly.

"There was no control over this," Marie's father, Joe, said. "That was it. Pancreas decides not to work. And here we are."

"It hurts, it hurts," Marie's mother, Denise, said. "Because I know that she's hurting physically and she's hurting mentally too. This isn't something a 7 or 8-year-old should have to be doing."

Denise said she only figured it out because she was in the right place at the right time.

"A friend of mine at work has asked me to go to a lunch seminar, just like a health seminar to talk about healthy tips how to live life healthy," Denise said. "I was like, 'Okay I'll go it's a Friday afternoon' and I had no idea it would change my life."

The woman speaking was the mother of a type one diabetic, describing the symptoms, which started raising red flags: excessive thirst and hunger, frequently going to the bathroom, extreme exhaustion, something FOX 43 reporter Samantha Galvez could relate to.

Samantha was diagnosed when she was 13-years old. Marie's spirit and strength is more than inspiring.

"I just get to have these abilities and I still get to do fun things with my friends and my family," Marie said.

"My fear was that she wouldn't live a normal life, but we have proven, and you have proven, that you can," Denise said.

Marie and her family plan on participating in this weekend's JDRF walk, an organization that supports type one diabetes research. if you'd like to donate to her team, click here.