Mother, daughter team up on diabetes fight

SHORT WALK, LONG ROAD: Melody Howard Ritt was 17 when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1970. Since then, she said, the battle to fight the disease on a daily basis has gotten somewhat less daunting, with small glucose meters replacing large urine-testing kits and strips, and insulin shots replaced by insulin pumps.

But as a disease said to plague as many as three million Americans, more research is needed, she said.

Ritt, 61, and her daughter, Leigh Farber, are teaming up again this year, as they have for almost all of the past 16 years, to participate in the Walk to Cure Diabetes. This year’s walk, which starts Saturday morning at the Hatch Shell in Boston, is a fund-raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

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“My daughter motivated me to get involved,” Ritt said of Farber, who taught in Foxborough and Duxbury schools before moving to Wakefield. “She’s been involved for 16 years and in that time has raised more than $300,000 for diabetes research.”

Farber and her three young children don’t have diabetes, but her husband, Scott Farber, has Type 1 diabetes, as do his two siblings, Ritt said.

“I always felt that because of the name, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation was more focused on children,” she said, but that for many years now “they’ve focused on anyone living with Type 1 diabetes.”

Ritt was good friends with someone who had the disease and who also had cancer.

“She passed away from cancer, but she and I shared a lot, and it was her friendship that encouraged me to talk more about being an adult with Type 1 diabetes,” said Ritt, president of Howard Communication Associates in Sharon.

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, more than 30,000 people — evenly split between children and adults — get the disease every year. The rate of Type 1 diabetes in children under 14 is estimated to jump by 3 percent a year around the world, the foundation said. And according to Ritt, it’s hard to predict who will get it: Neither of her parents have the disease, and neither do her two children.

“Raising money by doing the walk is so important, to cure this illness that affects millions of people,” she said. “I’m proud of the work my daughter has done and proud to be walking with her again this year. She’s a mother of three young children, so we hope this will help us fight Type 1 diabetes and prevent it from happening in the future.”

For information on the event, visit www.jdrf.org.  

WEYMOUTH WOMAN EARNS HONOR: Caroline Craig  of Weymouth was one of five people from across the state to earn the third annual Paul Kahn Award for Personal Care Assistants. Craig was nominated by her employer, Hingham resident Richard Gerraughty, who is a quadriplegic and requires a high level of assistance, he said.

“Caroline never takes a day off, and even comes to work sick rather than leave me without assistance,” Gerraughty said in a release from the Massachusetts PCA Quality Home Care Workforce Council, sponsor of the award. “One time she was at the hospital until 1 a.m. with one of her children who was sick, but still showed up bright and early that morning.”

Craig started as a personal care assistant at 17 and has trained four of her children to do the work, according to the council.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Donna Seibert  of Norwell has passed the American Association of Heart Failure Certification Board’s requirements to become a certified heart failure nurse. She is a nurse practitioner with the Norwell Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, and works with many of the agency’s teams to serve high-risk patients, many of whom have heart disease.

Five other members of the association staff have earned certification as National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. They are Geraldine Sanderson  of Hingham; Bernadette Ward  of Scituate; Amy Costello  of Pembroke; Joan Wright  of Marshfield; and Anne-Marie Powers  of Norwell.

David Hazlett  has been named general manager of Prime Infiniti in Hanover, which relocated to a Route 53 site in April. The dealership is part of the Prime Motor Group, which owns 17 dealerships in the region. Hazlett, a Marblehead resident, joined the group in 2009, and had worked as district manager at Ira Motor Group on the North Shore prior to that.

Marybeth Lamb  was named director of athletics and recreation at Bridgewater State University. Lamb, a Natick resident, formerly worked at Regis College, and began her career in higher education at Simmons College, working for seven years there as an athletic trainer.

Willow Designs  in Norwell donated design services recently to the Norwell Council on Aging facility, said Rosemary O’Connor, COA director. Teresa Burnett, principal of Willow Designs, provided consulting services in color, lighting, space planning and accessories, O’Connor said. Burnett also worked with Fernwood Gallery in Norwell to provide framed art for the building.

Beth Rooney  of Milton was named sales manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New England’s Newton and Chestnut Hill offices. She is responsible for the daily sales and operations of 74 sales associates serving that area. Prior to her recent appointment, Rooney was sales manager of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Milton.