150 153rd Ave,
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
Interview with Andy Mandell -- Mr. Diabetes®
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I was born April 23, 1945 which now, technically, qualifies me as a senior citizen. I was born and raised in Boston/Newton, MA. My home, now, is in Madeira Beach, Florida, where Defeat Diabetes Foundation is headquartered. Or, perhaps, it might be more accurate to say that now my home is wherever my RV is parked for the night.
Besides Diabetes what are you interested in?
I’m an exercise enthusiast. I began exercising in earnest in 1958 at age 13. I hold a Black Belt in the martial arts, style: Shoalin Kempo Karate and operated my own Dojo (in partnership) for several years. I have participated in a number of triathlon activities and completed the St. Anthony Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL in 1995. I did The Mad Dog Triathlon in 1995, as well. I was an avid runner from 1963 until 1996 and ran the Boston Marathon as a bandit in 1980. In 1996 my diabetic neuropathy forced me to take up walking instead.
I have a modest musical instrument collection of several violins, including an 1850 French violin and a 1907 German reproduction of a Stradivarius, a D25 Martin Guitar, a Guild Guitar, a 1920 Epiphone Tenor Guitar, a 1920 Weyman Tenor Banjo, a rare 1924 Martin koa wood mandolin and an odd assortment of other instruments. I also have an extensive Folk album collection and a growing 78s records collection. I collect comic books, Marvel and DC of course, and vintage Golden and Silver age comics.
I also design educational games notably Quations™ The Crossmath® Game, Crossmath® Puzzles, Micro Magic and others. I am currently developing a Mr. Diabetes® Defeat Diabetes? Game.
What is the mission of the Defeat Diabetes Foundation?
The mission of Defeat Diabetes Foundation is to inform, educate and alert the general public, diabetics, pre-diabetics and elected officials about the disease, its prevention and the consequences of undiagnosed and/or poorly managed diabetes. To provide the public with accurate, up-to-date and practical information on the treatment and self-management of the disease.
Our focus is on the much-neglected areas of fitness, nutrition and self-management of the disease. We have no involvement with medical research as we feel there is already enough emphasis in this area. We strongly emphasize that diabetes is a medical problem, which should be addressed with oversight by an endocrinologist (a diabetes specialist).
Why did you undertake the 10,000 mile walk around the United States?
The Purpose of the Mr. Diabetes® Wake Up and Walk® Tour, simply put, is to create a greater awareness and understanding of diabetes. In actuality there is much more involved:
a. To help identify the 11 million American diabetics who didn’t know they have the disease.
b. To help identify and prevent diabetes among the 79 million pre-diabetic Americans.
c. To inform individuals about the current and accurate information about diabetes to all people interested in the subject at Defeat Diabetes Foundation website: www.DefeatDiabetes.org
What else do you hope to accomplish?
I want to demonstrate that having diabetes is not a death sentence. To provide diagnosed diabetics with an example of a long-term, insulin dependent senior diabetic who is successfully coping with the rigors of the disease and to show that if their health is properly managed diabetics can live long and fruitful lives.
To evaluate treatment programs, products and services. Due to the exploitation of diabetics it is important for them to get an unbiased evaluation of various nutrition and fitness programs and diabetic related products and services. Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to providing this information.
Encourage others to join our effort. I believe that this is not a problem that any one organization can solve alone. The issues related to diabetes are far too complex. I hope to change that. With 27 million American diabetics currently, (and that number is projected to grow to 60 million by 2025) I believe that, collectively, we could, should and will be a powerful influence on legislation and the development of programs to support our needs.
How did the idea for THE WALKTM come to fruition?
Because diabetes is an epidemic with no end in sight and so many people are completely unaware of the disease we felt that something dramatic had to be done to call attention to the problem. Originally, I planned a 200+ mile run across the state of Florida. It was to be one marathon per day (26.2 miles) for eight consecutive days. I was just 50 at the time and had done marathon type distances many times in the past, so I figured that it was doable but, still, pushing the envelope.
In order to accomplish this task I had to crank up my daily workouts. I began losing 2 – 3 pounds per week, but never equated the weight loss to diabetes. Then, suddenly, I woke up one day and couldn’t move without experiencing excruciating pain. That started me off on a downward spiral health wise that took over two years to get back under control. While I was in bed for those years I had plenty of time to think about the problem and thought “If this can happen to me – and I was in good shape, then how are others faring?” Before, I had been committed to the problem, now I became a dedicated advocate both for myself and others.
After I recovered, running was out of the question because I couldn’t feel my feet or legs and had to learn to walk all over again. Meanwhile, the problem of diabetes was just magnifying and information about early identification and prevention just wasn’t getting out to the public. So, I decided to literally take it to the streets.
Why is awareness so important to you?
We have the ability to profile those at risk for developing diabetes and prevent it in 95% of the Type 2 cases. We can provide Defeat Diabetes® Screening Test Brochure to help identify those currently undiagnosed and give them all a fighting chance to avoid the devastation caused by this disease if left untreated.
How long did the walk take?
The first phase began in Madeira Beach, FL on December 1, 2000 and continued for 450 miles to Pensacola, FL (technically, the small neighboring town of East Milton, FL). When we reached Pensacola disaster struck. My first Tour Manager, Joseph Alton, suffered a series of heart attacks and re-broke his neck from a previous injury. As a result we had to stop while Joe sought appropriate medical attention. So, I used the downtime to deal with some of my own health issues, which included surgery on both eyes for diabetic retinopathy – a leading cause of adult blindness.
This phase served well as a trial walk. I learned a lot about the demands of life on the road and made some necessary adjustments. For example, I originally began THE WALK™ with a very visible 1937 Packard Limousine (stretched) for my “chase” vehicle. It followed behind me providing visibility to approaching vehicles and carried my medication(s), diabetes testing equipment, first aid materials and safety devices. In fact, what was required was a sturdy and dependable all terrain vehicle capable of traveling on the side of the road.
The second phase of THE WALK™ began on January 15, 2002 and began in Pensacola (East Milton) at the exact location we had stopped the previous year. Joe was unable to continue on THE WALK™ and was replaced by Bob Brooks. I walked continuously from January 2002 until November of 2003, covering 11 states and over 4,000 miles. At that point, in The Rocky Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, extreme winter weather forced me to suspend THE WALK™ temporarily and move to a warmer climate for the winter. I moved to Las Vegas, NV. Bob, after 2 years of dedicated service, left for home and to pursue other interests. His replacement as Tour Manager was the very road savvy Steve Hopf.
I got back on the road in April, 2004 and have, since, walked over 2,000 miles through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and reached Zion, IL and the 6,100 mile mark in mid-November. Now that we’re back in northern climates the winter weather has played a role. The issue wasn’t the cold; it’s had more to do with whether there are clear and safe walkways for me and whether there was someplace safe to park the Rig which serves as both home and office on the road. I was surprised to find that most of the campgrounds closed in early October. So in November of 2004 we found ourselves squatting in truck stops which are loud, smelly and not totally secure. So once again, THE WALK™ was called for the winter. We began again in April 2005 and logged an additional 900 miles before winter brought us to halt. This year we were walking through very urban areas and really ramped up our outreach. During winter down times I work on important Foundation projects that occupy much of my time.
We resumed in Seneca Falls, NY on April 16, 2006 with new tour managers Russ and Shirley Barranger. We continued the WALK™ uninterrupted through its completion in December 2008.
Did you set specific dates to achieve certain distance goals?
The plan is a 10,000+ mile perimeter walk of the United States. It was hard to project dates and places because so much depends on environmental and weather conditions. More importantly, it depended on how much noise I could make to raise awareness. Publicity, speaking engagements at schools and other venues, and meetings with elected officials result in fewer walking days and, ultimately, more time on the road.
What was a typical day for you out on the road?
My routine varied, somewhat, depending on the region in which I am walking. I start walking between 10:00 am and noon. I also found that walking in the desert’s high temperatures required a much earlier start (6:00 am – 8:00 am). Northern regions require adjustments as winter closes in and becomes a factor. I rarely walk fewer than 12 miles a day and often walk 15 or more, and travel at the rate of about 3 ½ miles per hour. The most distance covered in a single walk, so far, is 32.4 miles.
Everything in my routine revolved around coordinating my media and speaking schedule with the best walking times. I would wake at least two hours before I began walking, immediately test my glucose levels and take medications accordingly. I would dress for the day’s walking by determining whether it will be warm or cold, sunny or rainy. Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I don’t always eat it. I do, however, frequently eat vegetables or fruit on the way to the walk site. While walking I never take a break for lunch. I do, however, stay well hydrated by drinking water throughout each day’s walk. Before beginning the walk each day I take a glucose reading and will test from time to time while on the road. I’ve found that by testing frequently I can keep from having an insulin reaction.
Each day my Tour Manager watches out for my safety on the road. This is no easy task. He drives the very visible “chase” vehicle, which alerts oncoming traffic there is a “walker” ahead. He is continuously watching the road behind me as well as ahead of me, and it is for that reason we are in constant communication by walkie-talkie. I’ve been attacked by packs of wild dogs, had run-ins with snakes and encountered a variety of other wild animals. The journey is also being documented on camcorder and we're always on the phone contacting local media to get coverage whenever possible. All interviews are filmed in their entirety, as well as many of the wonderful people who stop to talk with me along the way.
After I finish walking for the day, I take time to stretch and cool down properly. We then return to the RVs, which are parked at a nearby campground. My RV is a 37’ Winnebago complete with bedroom, kitchen/dining area, bathroom, shower, 3 televisions (I’m a news junkie, too), central air conditioning and heat, and a lot more… I shower, relax, prepare dinner (or go out), get on the laptop computer and to bed by 1:00 am. During this time or during the day’s walk, I also take care of my duties as Executive Director of the Defeat Diabetes Foundation. I am constantly checking with Jerry Mandell (COO), brother and co-founder of the Foundation, Lisa Rasolt (Program Director) Dawn Swidorski (Public Outreach Director), as well as follow-up calls to people I’ve met along the way. During the night I am up every few hours checking and recording glucose levels.
What is a typical diet for you on walk days (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
A formal breakfast is a “sometimes” occurrence. When I do eat breakfast it is usually cereal: Shredded Wheat, Cheerios or Rice Krispies always with fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or half a banana since the others are seasonal fruits. I only drink Soy Milk. Most of the time I eat fresh vegetables or, occasionally, fruit on my way to the walk site.
Lunch on walking days is non-existent. It makes me feel very heavy and uncomfortable. However, the fresh foods I eat going to the walk site provide me with enough nutrition to get me through safely. I also drink adequate amounts of water to prevent dehydration. While in the desert I would consume 1½ gallons of spring water during the day’s walk!
Dinner is usually salmon, a vegetable and sometimes a potato. I am always up for a salad, but am usually disappointed by restaurant salads unless there is a salad bar that provides a variety of fresh vegetables. If there is no salmon available (which wasn’t a problem on the West Coast) I eat chicken or turkey. Two or three times month I eat red meat and usually prefer filet mignon.
My one big VICE is ice cream, especially mint chip. I allow myself a reasonable portion several times per week.
I absolutely avoid eating at fast food restaurants! Although their menus are improving they have been responsible for contributing to obesity and diabetes. So, I encourage people to avoid them at all costs.
What is your testing and insulin schedule?
Study after study has shown that the key to avoiding or delaying many of the complications associated with diabetes is to keep your glucose levels in control. I test and chart my glucose levels 6 – 10 times per day and based on those readings take insulin as needed. Insulin injections normally number at least 3 (and as many as 6) times daily. I always test and take insulin before eating. In the morning I take one shot of Lantus insulin. It is a lente (long acting – 24 hours) and helps keep a basal glucose level for that time period. At mealtimes, and other times during the day, I take Apidra a new rapid acting insulin designed to work in combination with Lantus for range needs.
Are you on other medications as well?
People with diabetes are, unfortunately, more susceptible to a host of other complications that include heart disease and high cholesterol. So, I take a variety of medications, some prescription some elective. I take Hyzaar and Zocor as a preventive measure, as I’m borderline hypertensive and am borderline high cholesterol (128 – the high end of what is considered acceptable ). Although my HDL (the good kind) is very high the LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) is a bit elevated. My target goal is to be under 100. I believe that preventive medicine is preferable to facing the complications of inaction. And, as a result of a new technology, my extreme neuropathy pain, of which I have suffered for many years and required daily medication, has now been eradicated. It is expected this new revolutionary technology will be available to the general public soon. (For further information on my experience with this new technology please go to the Defeat Diabetes Foundation website: [insert link to Miracle in Montana article] and read the article “Miracle In Montana” found on the homepage.)
I also take 400 IU of Vitamin E (natural), 500 mg of Vitamin C, B Complex Vitamins, a dietary supplement known as Syndrome X from Natures Benefit, plus an 81 mg aspirin before going to bed each night.
How many people with diabetes do you meet and talk with each day and what do you talk about?
I speak with, conservatively, 25 – 50 people one-on-one, and more when I’ve a speaking engagement arranged. I’ve done events with audiences as small as 25 and as large as 2,000. Mr. Diabetes® cumulative one-on-one outreach for the tour totals 78,000 individuals. In addition, his total outreach numbers for the tour to date total over 42,000,000 (tallied based on market size).
For those people who are uncertain about their own status I encourage them to take the Defeat Diabetes® screening Test and hand them a copy along with other Defeat Diabetes literature. I let them know about the high cost of diabetes to society in hard dollars, which reaches $13,000.00 a year per diabetic. I also speak to them about the lack of availability of appropriate and affordable health care services and products. Virtually, everyone I speak with has a family member or friend who has diabetes, so there is plenty of common ground.
For those who are diagnosed diabetics we talk mostly about their individual problems and how they are dealing with them. I usually have a fair amount of input since I’ve been diabetic for 20 years (diagnosed in 1985) and with the exception of heart attack, stroke, amputation, coma and death have pretty much experienced the full range of situations. Obviously, because of my own diabetes, I can relate to these people on a very personal level, encourage them when they need it, calm their fears and, hopefully, provide a bit of inspiration. I always refer them to the DDF website to catch up on the latest news related to diabetes, and of course, my updates about THE WALK™. I also give them my business card with my personal number where they can reach me 24/7 if they just need someone to talk with. Sometimes knowing that you aren’t alone can be a very powerful weapon against this disease. I also talk with them about the importance of preventing diabetes in their children, point out risk factors and suggest an appropriate course of action.
And sometimes it is, simply, people asking me what I’m doing and supporting me and encouraging me to keep going. Every once in a while someone will give me a pin to attach to my hat as a token of good luck to take with me, and it’s starting to get pretty heavy!
Describe, if you will, the media attention you have received along the way (print, television, radio, etc…)
The media has been wonderfully responsive to THE WALK™. I’ve been keeping track of interviews and am currently around the 250 mark with 40% newspaper, 40% television and 20% radio. You can see the list at the website.
Have you met any celebrities along the way? If so, whom?
In Tampa, FL I have a great relationship with radio talk show host Tedd Webb on WFLA-AM. Tedd is also a diabetic and I’ve made several appearances on his show. I’ve also been on several national talk radio shows: The Patient’s Voice with Rosemary Roberts, Diabetes Talk Radio, Tony Trupiano Show, The Deborah Ray Show, and others.
In Ocala, Florida I met “Big Daddy” Don Garlitts at his Don Garlitts Auto Museum. Don is recognized as the Father of Drag Racing. He was impressed with both the purpose and commitment of THE WALK? and autographed my RV and the “chase” vehicle.
I traveled through Los Angeles pretty quickly and stayed on the outskirts of the city on the Pacific Coast Highway, but did manage to have dinner with singer Lee Newman, great grandson of Eddie Cantor and songwriter Jimmy McHugh, and also met songwriter Ray Evans. Jerry Mathers (Leave It To Beaver) offered to walk with me on the Hollywood Wake of Fame, but our schedules conflicted – hope to meet him soon. I had a lengthy phone conversation with one of my heroes, Jack LaLaine. I also had a wonderful accidental meeting with Robin Williams in Sausalito, CA. I hope to gain more recognition and needed support from this highly visible sector, since their participation and involvement will help the cause tremendously.
Have you received any other special honors?
On a political note, I’ve had the opportunity to meet California Assemblyman Howard Wayne who was there for my Pacific Ocean “splash down” and presented me with a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly. Also there was Brookes Patterson, La Jolla, CA City Manager who gave me some nice gifts. Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco was a very gracious host at City Hall and he has since been tested for diabetes. I also had the opportunity to address the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in Chambers, packed with citizens. That was just the beginning!
Local and state governments have been very generous with their time by allowing me to meet with them and address the issue of diabetes in formal and informal settings. Stan Biles Mayor from Olympia, Washington and Charlie Kourajian, Mayor of Jamestown, North Dakota walked with me. I’ve also met with Governor James Hoeven of North Dakota, Senator John Kerry and Congressman Barney Frank and received Certificates of Recognition, Commendations and had days declared for Diabetes Awareness beginning in California. I think we’re over the 100.
In June of 2005 Congressman Dale Kildee of Michigan had an official proclamation read into the Congressional record and that was pretty exciting.
Finally, I’ve had some pretty unique experiences with members of our military. I had the opportunity to meet and walk with 37 Marines from Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego who escorted me the final 5 miles and formed an honor guard as I entered the Pacific Ocean. Marines from this station have distinguished themselves in recent actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. I later requested and received permission to walk through Camp Pendleton. In March, 2003 I was granted special dispensation by the U.S. Coast Guard (of which I was a member in the 1960s) and accompanied the Coast Guard Cutter Tern on a five-hour patrol of the San Francisco Bay. I also spoke to the crew (85 Coasties) on the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett in Seattle.
As a person with diabetes, what has been the most difficult undertaking of the walk?
First, as you know, diabetes is a 24/7 proposition – there is no reprieve because there is no cure! With all of its medical aspects, lifestyle, nutrition and fitness issues it’s a complicated balance to maintain. It’s something that all diabetics must adhere to if they want to live a long and relatively healthy life. So, it is important to maintain my personal diabetes survival skills no matter where I am and that has been a challenge.
On THE WALK™ I have encountered diabetics in every single community I’ve been in regardless of the size. And because I haven’t avoided any areas to accommodate my comfort I am truly experiencing some of the most difficult conditions in which diabetics must survive. For example, in Sanderson, TX what was once a thriving railroad town with thousands of people is now practically a ghost town, catering to truckers and other passers through with several gas stations and a poorly stocked mini-mart. The closest full service grocery store is 65 miles away. Hospital? Pharmacy? Forget it. Yet in this town I met diabetics and, like them, I was forced to deal with my diabetes. I have walked through many communities like this and I’m sure there are thousands more. It is one thing to know that places like this exist and another to “walk a mile in their shoes.” Clearly, these people have been abandoned by the system. I will never forget the suffering I have witnessed on this walk and this is one voice that intends to be heard!!
My severe neuropathy has also been a significant problem. I had to learn to walk all over again, and still use a walking pole to aid with my balance. Imagine what you feel like when your feet fall asleep and you experience the “pins and needles” sensation. I feel that all the time when I walk and other times I feel a numbness, sensitivity and pain all at the same time. Coupled with the erratic terrain, weather, speeding cars and wild animals THE WALK™ also requires mental fitness, too.
Why did you decide to adopt the moniker Mr. Diabetes®?
Several reasons. First you need to understand that prior to diagnosis I was physically active and watched my eating habits. But, that wasn’t enough. I was the classic profile for Type 2 (Adult Onset) diabetes and didn’t even know it. I should have been under the medical oversight of an endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). I was diagnosed in 1985 at the age of 40. My treatment began with diet control, progressed to oral medication(s) and I ultimately ended up on insulin injections. I suffered from severe neuropathy, was in excruciating pain, experienced uncontrolled weight loss (75- 80 pounds), was bedridden for two years and suffered many other complications from the disease before I got it back under control. At that point I had surgery on both eyes to correct diabetes retinopathy, the leading cause of adult blindness (12,000-24,000 new cases of blindness every year). If I had known about these risk factors and paid attention to them I’m convinced I would not have suffered the ravages of the disease.
Because of the deliberate fractionalization of the diabetic community there are no “barometers” out there for diabetics to compare and contrast their own condition. A diabetic in Maine or Arizona hasn’t got a clue about to whom or where to turn for advice. In many cases, even their own doctor doesn’t know much about diabetes. The conventional wisdom that has dominated the diabetes “industry” ($135-$150 Billion, annually) for the past several decades is totally responsible for the epidemic we are in currently. As MR. DIABETES® The Professional Diabetic™ I intend to expose the inequities that exist here and provide the necessary alternatives that will give folks a fighting chance to beat this killer.
The incidence of diabetes is increasing, not decreasing. When I started THE WALKTM there were 17 million American diabetics, now there are 21 million and that number is projected to grow to 60 million by 2025. The number of pre-diabetics has risen from 17 million to 41 million. These figures provided by CDC, NIH and WHO proves that the “traditional” approaches of other organizations for combating the problem DO NOT WORK!
Adopting the name Mr. Diabetes® creates an identifiable name that diabetics will, I hope, come to trust. I am committed to save people from the devastation of this disease. I am testing products, services and treatments for the diabetic and will report on their value from my personal experience. Eventually, I plan to organize this large group of people to effect political, financial, social and health care changes that will positively impact their well-being.
I bill myself as the Professional DiabeticTM because I do nothing else! I am the desperately needed advocate for ALL diabetics and, clearly, I have no hidden agendas.
As a diabetic, what is the most important aspect of managing the disease?
Self Management of the disease! Study after study has shown that the key to avoiding many of the severe complications of the disease is maintaining proper blood glucose levels. In fact, some studies have shown that a decrease of 1% of your A1C level can reduce the liklihood of some complications by as much as 20%. This means constant monitoring of blood glucose, what you eat and your daily activities, knowing your A1C level and keeping it below 7%.
The treatment for all diabetics is easily described, but difficult to implement: 1) See your doctor (endocrinologist) because diabetes is a medical problem; 2) eat properly because diabetes is also a metabolic problem; and 3) maintain an active lifestyle because survival depends on fitness. Picture this as a three-legged stool – if any one of these legs is missing the stool will topple. And so it is with diabetes care, remove any one of these components and the treatment is incomplete.
You need to realize, as I did, that diabetics must be responsible for managing their own disease. No one else is with you late at night when you’re standing at the refrigerator, no one else is going to prick your finger (and, in spite of the new testing equipment, it still isn’t fun), and no one else is going to motivate you to get active.
How diabetes impacts your life has everything to do with how you are managing your own health condition – with the exception of family, close friends and, hopefully, your health care team. Period!! You have to take control, take responsibility and DO IT ON YOUR SELF!!!
Is there anyone who helped you?
Yes, an amazing team of 5 doctors at the Diagnostic Clinic in Largo, FL headed up by Dr. Patrick Mulroy, and Dr. Richard Beaser of the famed Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA. These dedicated professionals saved my life! No doubt about it! They provided the education and the tools necessary for me to fight back. It was, very definitely, a cooperative effort.
Why did you have such horrible complications and what advice did you get that made it better?
Until that moment of collapse I was feeling great. I had completely lost touch with my diabetes because I felt so good. I didn’t have any health insurance and was tired of the frequent and expensive glucose testing. Also, due to a mistake, I had received a two-year supply of my oral medication and didn’t have to see a doctor for renewal prescription(s) of my medication. So, by not having the critical medical oversight by an endocrinologist and because I had stopped testing my glucose levels, which had been perfect; that was a formula for disaster!
Here’s the bottom line. There is no cure for diabetes. Each diabetic needs to take responsibility for his or her own life. I think diabetics are poorly served by the false hope being fed to us that “a cure is just around the corner”. We’ve been hearing this for decades with no results. Let’s face it, we live in a money driven society. The diabetes industry generates $135-$150 Billion, annually. There is no incentive for those who control this industry to find a cure. An appropriate analogy: if you owned Firestone Tire Co. would you invent a tire that never wears out? The ONLY way we’ll see a cure for diabetes is when the cure generates more money than is being made, currently, with the never ending “research programs” and development of improved management devices. Until that time we will have to be satisfied with the improvements being created to improve the management of the disease. It’s a huge market with a captive audience. And it’s growing by 2200 new diabetics – DAILY!!!! So, the notion that “a cure for diabetes is just around the corner” is BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!! The only way to deal with it is through personal knowledge, personal management, proper medical monitoring, nutrition and fitness. It is the only chance diabetics have. I’m probably the only one out there saying that.
I understand that you’ve developed a fitness manual for diabetics. What’s it all about and where can people get it?
The Mr. Diabetes® Home Fitness Program is available through the Defeat Diabetes Foundation: P.O. Box 8171 Madeira Beach, FL 33738. The cost is $25.00 and includes shipping and handling.
It is an 80-page manual designed to bring maximum fitness at minimal cost. It consists of a description of diabetes, clear explanations of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, and a definition of fitness and how to determine proper training levels for each individual, an explanation of a variety of the more popular massage therapies and which ones diabetics should avoid, and a discussion of stress. There is, also, an exercise routine comprised of a series of simple exercises that most people are familiar with along with explanations of how to do them properly and the benefits gained from each exercise. I’ve incorporated my martial arts stretching routine and a schedule for a balanced and safe workout experience. I did not invent any of these exercises or routines, but merely gathered them together in a program designed for both sexes and all age levels that includes photographic demonstrations. No special equipment is required and it can be done in the privacy of your own home. Just remember to get an okay from your doctor before starting any exercise program, including this one!
Explain the KIDD Project.
The incidence of Type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic problem in elementary and middle schools. Because of our emphasis on early detection and prevention at Defeat Diabetes Foundation we decided to take pro-active steps to inform school children and their families of the potential risks of diabetes. We began the program four years ago and have distributed over 2.75 million Defeat Diabetes® Screening Test Brochures to schools nationwide.
The test itself, which is also available at the website, is a simple question and answer test with points assigned for the degree of various risk factors.
The Defeat Diabetes Foundation reaches out to schools through direct mail, informing them of the availability of this Defeat Diabetes® Screening Test Brochure and providing a form and directions for obtaining as many copies as they need. We encourage the children and staff to take the test home and share it with their families. We offer additional information about diabetes and, of course, the website address: www.DefeatDiabetes.org is also available in a Spanish translation. We also have plans to expand the program in the near future.
Tell me about the song “One Step at A Time.” Who wrote it? Is it for sale? Where can people hear it?
This is now my official theme song and right at the top of wonderful experiences of The Mr. Diabetes® Wake Up and Walk® Tour. It came as a complete surprise to me and I am both honored and flattered by this expression by Lee and Pami Durley of Monterey, CA.
Here is how it came about…In my quest to investigate various products and services I responded to an infomercial for Good Feet Inserts. My inquiry brought me in touch with Jim and Charlotte Hart of Aromas, CA. I visited their store and they spent several hours educating me on the virtues of this particular orthotics foot aid. We got along so well they arranged for me to do a radio interview on KIDD-AM in Monterey, CA. I did several more interviews on KIDD-AM and their sister station KWAV-FM. There I was introduced to Lee Durley, their Promotions Director.
Lee, who is also a professional musician, is very involved with his community. I guess something about THE WALK™ inspired him to look over the DDF website. Unbeknown to me, he sat down with his wife, Pami, and began working on the song. He wrote the music, performed and recorded it and Pami was responsible for the incredibly moving lyrics. They were assisted by Richard, one of the Doobie Brothers. They absolutely captured the flavor and essence of THE WALK™.
The song can be heard on the website: [createlink] and it is available from the Foundation as a fundraiser.
What do you want people to learn from your walk?
Diabetes is a scourge on this country and our health care system. According to statistics from organizations, such as the CDC, NIH, WHO and JAMA, diabetes costs this country $135 – $150 Billion per year. And those figures are based on only half of the estimated 22 million diabetics! It is, in fact, entirely possible that the high cost of diabetes will completely bankrupt the healthcare system in this country.
The incidence of diabetes is expected to increase to 60 million people in the US by 2025. There are 79 million “pre-diabetics” who will surely develop this disease within 10 years if steps are not taken immediately to prevent it.
We now know enough to profile and prevent 75%, or more, of diabetes from occurring by addressing lifestyle factors that lead to the disease. So, learn the warning signs and take the Defeat Diabetes? Screening Test. If you are at risk take the HBA1C test. It is the definitive test to determine if you have diabetes. It is non-invasive (except for a small sample of blood necessary to make the determination) and is usually done in your doctor’s office or a qualified lab. Eat properly. Get off the couch and, if you are diabetic, learn everything you can about the disease. Sign up for the monthly E-Lerts™ Newsletter for up-to-date information.
I know from the supportive response I receive from people wherever I go that my message is needed and appreciated: AWARENESS + ACTION = PREVENTION® . My message really IS one of hope. When people learn of my own experiences with diabetes and see how I’m able to deal with it they take heart that they, too, can fight back. Interestingly, the recommended diabetic lifestyle is the most perfect lifestyle. If everyone lived as if they were a diabetic there would be far less disease of all kinds in the world.
And finally, Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization entirely funded by individuals. We need your financial donation to help support our programs.
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Costa Rica Travel Corp. will donate a portion of the proceeds to and is a sponsor of Defeat Diabetes Foundation.
Send your unopened, unexpired test strips to: