Holland hikes the Appalachian Trail raising money for juvenile diabetes cure

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By Ann McGinley
Local resident Michael Holland (GMHS 2009) has been hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) since April in an effort to raise money to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Holland was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 just after moving to Granby over 15 years ago. He and his family have participated in the annual “Walk to Cure Diabetes” fundraiser ever since but this year Michael wanted to do something different and more meaningful.
Being an avid outdoorsman he decided to try to thru hike the AT getting friends and family to sponsor him in order to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Holland did extensive research to find a web site where individuals can make a per mile pledge to JDRF. He has also posted a journal of his hike to keep his supporters updated on his progress. He states on this website that, “People have all sorts of different reasons for wanting to hike this iconic trail, just as I have mine. 2,189 miles crossing through 14 states is not your average hike, and I fully expect to be physically and mentally exhausted before the end. What better motivation to complete the arduous journey and push through the tough times than knowing that with your generous donations, every mile equates to another contribution to JDRF?”
Holland began his hike in Harpers Ferry WV and hiked to Springer Mountain, Ga. He flew home to Connecticut then drove to Baxter State Park in Maine where he hiked Mount Katahdin to begin his southbound journey back to Harpers Ferry. He has been fortunate to be able to take his time and enjoy every aspect of his hike. His journey has been truly remarkable and rewarding. The random acts of kindness that people have shown him both on and off the trail are extraordinary and inspiring. Complete strangers have welcomed him into their home sharing whatever they may have. The outpouring of generosity has been heartwarming and the stories of the people he has met are amazing. In a world filled with so much violence and negativity, his story helps to restore faith in the human spirit. Holland’s effort to help raise money for diabetes has turned into a life changing experience for him and has been an inspiration to all those who know him.
Anyone who is interested in sponsoring Holland or just reading his journals can find more information on his hiking website; hikefor.com/mike/at/2016.
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Michael Holland hikes the Appalachian Trail raising money for juvenile diabetes. Photo by Ann McGinley

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