Many in Philadelphia wore brightly colored T-shirts identifying their teams, which bore such names as "Team Zach" (purple), "Catie's Courageous Crew" (lime), "Team Benjamin" (black), "Anthony's Army" (black and yellow), and "Quinn's Crusaders" (kelly green).
Most teams were named for a young person with juvenile diabetes. An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes - a failure of the body to properly process sugar - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which predicts that as many as one in three could have it by midcentury. It was the seventh-leading cause of death in 2007.
"I got diagnosed at 13, after I went into a coma," said Mike Koons, 14, of Washington Township in Gloucester County. His nickname was the inspiration for "Team Elvis" (white T-shirts with "I DID IT" in black letters).
The "Sugar Figs" (in lavender) took their name from 9-year-old Angela Figlia of Nazareth, Pa., jiggling in time to the amplified rock music before starting her walk.
Chic and Joan Dowburd of Bensalem sported purple shirts emblazoned with "The Three Shooting Stars," for their son-in-law and two grandchildren with diabetes. "My brother died of it at 62," Chic Dowburd said.
Among the walkers was 35-year-old Sharon Pennock of Havertown. Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was just 13 months of age, she carried her month-old daughter, Madeline.
Perhaps the most exuberant was "Team Colleen" (in magenta), named for 23-year-old Colleen Pacenski.
"Colleen was diagnosed in 2001, and last night she got engaged," her friend Laura Janos said.
"She came up to us like this," Janos said, holding forth her left ring finger, "and we all started crying."
Contact staff writer David O'Reilly at 215-854-5723 or email@example.com.