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Saturday, July 14, 2012 9:24 a.m.

Senior hikes for a cure

Kate Noble. Courtesy of Kate Noble.

Kate Noble estimates her finger has been pricked more than 60,000 times since she was 16 months old.

For the senior, climbing Mt. Whitney from July 14 to Aug. 2 at Yosemite National Park — the highest mountain in the continental U.S. — will be no challenge compared to a lifetime of attention to her type one diabetes treatments, including the finger pricks and more than 10,000 shots and 1,800 insulin pumps. Family and supporters will join her hike to commemorate Kiss the Sky, an organization she created 10 years ago to raise funds for diabetes research.

“I started this organization because I want to have one day where I no longer have to worry about checking my blood sugar, shots, changing my site, counting every carbohydrate I eat and all the other annoyances that are diabetes,” Noble said.

Since Kiss the Sky’s 2002 inception, it has raised more than $350,000 for diabetes research. All proceeds go toward diabetes research at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

When she was 11 years old, Noble frequented walk-a-thons, auctions and galas, and came up with an idea to fuse her father’s passion for hiking with her family’s devotion to pushing diabetes research.

“Kate’s now 21 and has had diabetes for 20 years. We’ve been climbing with Kiss the Sky for 10 years. That’s a long, long time when you realize that every day Kate’s body struggles to fight the disease and its effects. And there are millions like Kate who wage that battle every day,” Rick Noble, her father, said.

For supporters who are unable to undertake the 14,505 ft. trek to Mt. Whitney’s peak, Kiss the Sky encourages hiking remotely – whether on a mountaintop or a StairMaster at a local gym.

“I have even gone out and walked around the monuments and up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to try and ‘hike’ a little and think about Kiss the Sky,” Kate Noble said.