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Teen organizes benefit for juvenile diabetes research

Just an hour into a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on Aug. 15, and already more than 100 people had shown up to support the cause, hear free music and eat free cupcakes.

Cody Martel, 16, who was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes almost 11 years ago, put together the event in two weeks at the Village of Colonie's Family Recreation Center, where local band Breaking News played covers of familiar songs and prizes donated by several local stores were raffled off. The event raised $2,250.

There was even a CoccaDots Cupcake truck parked out in front of the recreation center, where a $5 entrance fee got attendees a free cupcake.

Martel got the idea for the fundraiser after taking over the reins of running his mother's JDRF Walk Team, Colonie Cares, this year.

My mom has always run our Colonie Walk team, and this year, at the last walk actually, me and my friend were thinking of a bunch of different ideas to fundraise and we thought, 'Why don't we run the team? Why don't we just try and do it ourselves,' he said. "So we were on the team and came up this idea [the fundraiser], and I had no idea it was going to be this big."

DC's Pizza and Wings helped by providing Martel with free rolls and hotdogs through their distributors, and Mayor Frank Leak and Youth and Family Services Director Brian Casey helped secure use of the recreation center for free.

"They waived all the fees," Martel said.

Leak said he was amazed by Martel's motivation and work ethic and said he wanted to support him "100 percent."

"How can you say no to someone like that?" he said. "You have to do something to help combat this disease."

His mother, Hiedi Ruth, was one of his biggest helpers, he said. She was involved with the JDRF before Cody was even born.

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