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Man Fights Diabetes One Step At A Time
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2007
HAW RIVER — Andrew Mandell wanted to spread awareness about diabetes. That desire has literally led him around the country.
Mandell is coming to the end of a five-plus year journey, one that started in Pensacola, Fla., in January 2002. Since then, the 62-year-old — known as “Mr. Diabetes” — has walked the perimeter of the United States.
Andrew Mandell of Florida walks Tueday on U.S. 70 in
Haw River. Mandell started the walk Jan. 15, 2002, and
has logged over 8,700 miles.
He is making his way through North Carolina this week. After passing through Alamance County Tuesday, he is on his way to Greensboro. From there it’s south through Charlotte, then South Carolina and Georgia before making his way back to his home in Florida.
He has met more than 56,000 people on the road, many who either suffer from diabetes or know of someone who does. Those people have shared their stories with him. He in turn brings those stories and possible solutions to politicians, hospital executives and others who have a chance to make a difference.
“It’s about diabetes,” he said, never stopping his walk down U.S. 70 between Haw River and Burlington. “Talking and walking and making as much noise as I can. Because it’s the only way we’re going to beat this problem. It’s an epidemic and it’s out of control.”
Mandell, who is also the executive director of the Florida-based Defeat Diabetes Foundation, is himself a Type 2 diabetic. “Insulin-dependent,” as he called it, since 1985.
He’s had four surgeries, including two for diabetic retinopathy, which damages the blood vessels in the retina and can cause blindness.
By the end of his trek, which he believes will be sometime in October 2008, he will have logged about 10,000 miles.
He’s gone through 20 pairs of sneakers and seven hats thus far. His legs have gone numb at points.
He walks every day, only taking extended breaks during winter weather. He’s walked deserts in the heat of summer, the Rocky Mountains in the coldest months. So yesterday’s 75-degree temperatures were music to Mandell’s feet.
“I love it — springtime in North Carolina,” he said with a smile. “Ain’t a bad place to be.”
For more on Andrew Mandell and his journey, check out our exclusive video at TheTimesNews.com
Source: Burlington, NC Times-News
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