$16K in wishing well coins to be donated toward diabetes cure - KMSP-TV

$16K in coins recovered from MOA fountains donated for diabetes cure

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Thousands of wishes can be found in the fountains at the Mall of America, but the coins that were used to make them are now being collected to benefit a good cause -- but cashing them in hasn't been easy.

Crews have certainly found some interesting items like hats and action figures in the water, but most of what they have brought back to the surface is money. Once they collect it all, it'll be donated to JDRF's 22nd Annual Walk to Cure Diabetes, which will take place on Saturday inside the mall.

The coins that the wishes were made on come in all shapes and sizes and can be traced to countries across the world -- but none of the people who cast them knew their wish would help those living with diabetes get closer to their wish for the cure.

It's the first time in 22 years that the mall will donate all the change. The ponds found inside Nickelodeon Universe have been there since 1992, when the indoor theme park was still known as Camp Snoopy.

Along with tokens, crews have collected 3,200 pounds of coins from the water. Until now, it's all been kept in storage -- but with one pound of change worth about $5, it's adding up to an estimated $16,000. Soon, that money will go toward the fight against diabetes, a chronic disease that interferes with the body's ability to regulate high and low blood sugar.

"There are 30,000 new cases diagnosed every year, half of which are adults," Ross Marcus, who works for JDRF, explained.

Marcus is living with Type-1 diabetes, which is hereditary. Although there's no cure right now, donations like the one from the mall give him hope.

"JDRF is getting really, really close because of awesome donations like this," he said.

Yet, it won't be as simple as taking the sum to a bank for sorting. Some are too eroded after spending a long time underwater, and they must be hand-washed in a vinegar and salt bath before being put into a rock tumbler for six hours. JDRF staff is spearheading that effort -- and if anyone has a better method, they're eager to hear it.

Saturday's walk will start at 8:30 a.m., and organizers expect about 23,000 people to participate. They hope to raise close to $2 million.

DONATE: Blotz Family OutFox Diabetes Walk Team

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