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State Honoree

Jesse Cooke

Vermont

Jesse Cooke, 13, of Bennington, Vt., a seventh-grader at Mount Anthony Union Middle School and a diabetic, rode in a 25-kilometer “Tour de Cure” bicycle race to raise more than $5,000 for diabetes research. Jesse, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 9, rode in his first benefit race that year and raised $375. “It is important to raise money for diabetes because it affects so many people,” said Jesse. He felt so good about his participation in that first race that he set a goal of $2,500 the following year, and met it. And, in his third year, the $5,000 he raised represented the biggest contribution by any participant in the state of Vermont. In order to collect so many sponsorships, Jesse wrote letters to friends, newspapers, and celebrities (he received a check from television producer Norman Lear the day before the race). Jesse has been planning for this year’s race and has set his goal higher at $7,500.