Arizona siblings hike 221 miles for diabetes research

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Fifteen-year-old Haley Maurice and her 22-year-old brother Ethan embarked on a 221-mile trek across the Sierra Nevada to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The siblings set out on July 16, following the John Muir Trail from the Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental United States.

They hiked an average of 10 miles a day for three weeks and encountered extreme weather conditions.

"We were up on the top of Mount Whitney at the end of our hike, a little above 14,000 feet, and we got stuck in about two feet of snow," Ethan said. "We're up there in rain jackets and shorts and yeah, it was pretty extreme."

Haley also experienced 77 high blood sugar levels and 56 low levels, pricking her finger 103 times throughout the trip and using 1,598 units of insulin.

She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes eight years ago and has been involved with JDRF ever since.

"Ethan was up at NAU this past year ... and we were Skyping, and he was telling me about this trail that he wanted to hike," Haley said. "And the next day I'm like, 'Ethan, I want to hike this with you,' and then the day after that I said, 'Ethan, we're raising money for JDRF.' "

Haley consumed almost two liters of honey over the three-week trip to keep her blood sugar up.

"So much physical activity, intake of carbohydrates -- it gets pretty difficult to manage," she said. "It was a lot of work and just walking every day. Just keep going."

The Maurices returned home a couple weeks ago but are still working hard to reach their goal of raising $221,000 for JDRF, which represents $1,000 per mile of the hike. They have raised about $7,000 so far.

To see the video of their journey and to donate to Summit Diabetes, visit their website at www.summitdiabetes.com.