ARNPRIOR, ONT. -- For Ruby Pilatzke of Petawawa, 2021 is a big year. Not only does it mark her graduation from high school and her soon-to-be first year at Nipissing University, but it is also the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.

To mark the occasion the 17-year-old is planning to walk 100 kilometres from Arnprior to Petawawa this weekend, a non-stop journey that will take her 20 hours.

"It’s a pretty big year for me because insulin is what keeps me alive," says Pilatzke, who lives with diabetes. "So I figured that 2021 is a big year, I’d go big, and walking 100 kilometres is how I’m going to do it."

Before the pandemic the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation would hold an annual walk in Ottawa, raising money for diabetes research. This year the walk was cancelled, and the JDRF challenged participants to do "100 their way", in honour of the 100-year anniversary.

"It’s so important to me because I look forward to the walk for months before it even happens," Pilatzke told CTV News Ottawa. "It’s definitely the highlight of my summer I’d say. So when I found out it was cancelled I was bummed that it wasn’t in its usual form but I know that I still had to do something."

Pilatzke plans to leave the Antrim Truck Stop in Arnprior Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., and then walk for 20 hours, ending at the Petawawa Civic Centre Saturday morning around 11:00 a.m.

She says she will stop every 10 kilometres to hydrate, check her feet and blood sugar, and recharge. Those looking to cheer on Pilatzke are encouraged to come out to the start and finish lines.

To mark the 100th year after the discovery of insulin, Pilatzke also had a fundraising goal of $10,000, which she has already surpassed. Donations are still being accepted online, with all funds raised going towards diabetes research.

"Hopefully, one day we’ll be able to find a cure, and that’s the main purpose of this whole walk."