A Message From Our Executive Director April 2009
Andrew P. Mandell – MR. DIABETES®
For those of you who have been following my adventures on The MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
during the past eight years, that is now completed. It was a 10,000
mile perimeter walk of the United States for diabetes awareness. It
began in Madeira Beach, Florida at our Defeat Diabetes Foundation
national headquarters on December 1, 2000 and finished there on
December 21, 2008.
Much was shared with America and Americans, and I got a
perspective about diabetes and diabetics that could not possibly have
been learned any other way. In brief: I was greeted by some 78,000
individuals who came out to greet me and share their diabetes concerns
and experiences, I spoke at diabetes support groups, senior centers,
civic organizations, schools, camps, met with hospital administrators,
some of the world’s leading diabetes research scientists, elected
officials at all levels and reached an estimated 70 million Americans
through media outreach, and more…...
is over, but not the work. Now is the time for sharing this experience
and information in meaningful ways to impact diabetes and change the
course of this run-a-way epidemic. What follows is one such way Defeat
Diabetes Foundation is doing just that!!!
I just returned from being in Greensboro, Alabama for a week (March
25-30); having a BLAST!! It's an annual "pilgrimage" that's becoming a
tradition. This is my second year, but the group I’m affiliated with
has been doing it now for four years. What it is: I am a member of a
national organization of martial artists. This is one of several
events, every year, in which this group participates. Each is a
different activity - different purpose.
This one in Greensboro, AL is to assist the local H.E.R.O. office
(Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization) build homes for the
homeless. This is an effort to which we lend a hand for a few days each
year. When you have an army of people show up with a willingness to
help and a plan, lots can happen - and it does. Like I said, it's
growing; last year there were about forty of us - this year there were
over one hundred. Can’t wait for next year.
Our group is called the New Way Network. It is a new approach
conceived by Master Teacher Tom Callos to effect change in the way in
which the martial arts is perceived and functions in today’s
society(ies). The traditional values of the martial arts remain; the
rigorous training and discipline that represent the dedication a
martial artist must live – it’s their lifestyle.
However, in today’s world, there must be more. And, under the
guidance of Mr. Callos, his vision of taking these principals into the
community to effect positive change is a refreshing new concept which
has been embraced by martial artists all over the United States and is
generating acceptance throughout the world. His theme: “Out of the dojo and into the world”.
Those who follow the martial arts may be more familiar with Mr. Callos
for his innovative and extraordinary challenge: the Ultimate Black Belt
Mr. Callos (Ultimate Black Belt Test) was featured in BLACK BELT
MAGAZINE in September, 2007. There was described this most arduous
commitment to martial arts excellence, physical challenges and the
practical applications of all which this represents. It is a test of
will and commitment which lasts thirteen (13) months and is definitely
NOT for the casual practitioner but, rather, serves as a model for
those who strive for martial arts excellence.
It is primarily geared for those who have already achieved high
rank in their particular “style”. The 13 months is capped with a test
which lasts several days at a predetermined location.
Many who undertake this “test” are recognized Masters. This is now in its 6th
year – a new test is begun each year. I am proud to be accepted in the
ranks of these extraordinary leaders, and was a member of UBBT-5 and am
a member of the current UBBT-6. Can’t get enough of a good thing!!
Mr. Callos was inspired to make this annual commitment to
Greensboro, AL by the wonderful contribution to this community of now
deceased architect Samuel Mockby.
H.E.R.O. has a permanent staff of 4 or 5 dedicated people. It is
headed up by Pam Dorr, a woman who, just a few short years ago, began
this program. The rest are volunteers who help when they can. In that
past few years they have built 65 homes, all of innovative design and
materials, and have assisted The Habitat for Humanity build an
additional 23 homes. Also, sewer and water systems, plus plus. We
probably save them up to 6 months work in the few days we're here. And,
too, we put on martial arts demonstrations for the community (and each
other) which profiles the incredible talent of these dedicated martial
This year they kept me away, wisely, from doing any work on the
construction sites. Instead, I held court in one of the classrooms and
gave talks on diabetes and how it relates to the martial arts.
Basically, it was to introduce MADDCAP™ (Martial Arts Defeat Diabetes®
Community Action Project) to new members and review the program with
existing members. It's a curriculum designed to educate them and their
students about diabetes, nutrition and fitness (beyond the excellent
programs they currently offer). And, then, to bring this information
back out into the community by way of community action projects.
MADDCAP™ is the result of the dedicated effort of Defeat Diabetes
Foundation’s very own Public Outreach Director, Dawn Swidorski. Tom
Callos and I conceived this cooperative effort in 2006 and asked Dawn
to implement the plan. And, although Tom and I added a degree of
guidance and insight to the project, it was Dawn who designed and
labored tirelessly to produce this finished curriculum which is
historic. MADDCAP™ is designed to tap into and mobilize America’s
greatest natural resource – our kids!! This program teaches the kids
about diabetes, nutrition and fitness in a series of power point
lessons. Further, they are given all the tools necessary to go back out
into their community(ies), in leadership roles, to share this
information with their families, peers, civic organizations, school
administrations, health departments, elected officials, the media, and
more……… This is all accomplished in cooperation with their parents,
families, guidance councilors and teachers. It is a true community
action project which has captured the imagination of martial arts
schools and parents around America and is embraced by all who
We designed this program during the past 2 - 3 years; and, if I do
say so myself, it's quite a program! We feel that it is up to us to
change the course of this run-a-way epidemic, diabetes. That, by
educating the kids about health and fitness in a meaningful and
participatory way, we can prevent Type 2 diabetes from occurring up to
95%!!! There is NO CURE!!
Please NOTE: There are currently 24 million Americans with diabetes;
up to 1/3 do not know they have it. There are 57 million Americans with
“pre-diabetes”; they are sure to develop diabetes within the next 10-15
years. However, diabetes can still be prevented at this stage. Further,
1 of every 3 children born after the year 2000 is expected to develop
diabetes in their lifetime. Again, there is NO CURE!! But, there IS
Some of the complications of unchecked diabetes:
1. The leading cause of adult blindness (24,000 new cases every year)
2. The leading cause of non-traumatic amputations (100,000 every year)
3. A leading cause of kidney disease and renal failure
4. 2-4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack
5. 6 times more likely to suffer a stroke
6. 30% of diabetics experience increased dental problems, especially periodontal disease
7. 60% of diabetics suffer Alzheimer’s Disease
8. 40% of diabetics suffer hearing loss
9. Life expectancy is reduced 10-15 years
10. The 4th leading cause of death – 215,000 deaths annually
11. Financial Cost: $218 billion annually
BUT, we can change this very bleak picture! We can profile who is
most at risk for developing diabetes – many times even BEFORE birth!!
We ABSOLUTELY can prevent TYPE 2 diabetes (90% of all diabetes) up to
95%!!! Together WE CAN DO THIS!!!!
To learn more about MADDCAP™, to find a participating martial arts
school in your community or to become a participating member of this
historic Defeat Diabetes® program, contact:
Dawn Swidorski Public Outreach Director Defeat Diabetes Foundation 415.671.2991
And remember: “What’s worse than finding out you have diabetes?........... NOT finding out!!!” Andrew P. Mandell – MR. DIABETES®
Look for more – we are just getting started…………………………
Good Health. Andrew P. Mandell – MR. DIABETES® Executive Director
NOW, take this opportunity to be part of the solution!! Support our programs!! Support Defeat Diabetes Foundation!! Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. Your donations are tax deductible.
AWARENESS + ACTION = PREVENTION®