MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
April_2006 Journal Update
LOCATION: Fayetteville, NY
TOTAL MILES WALKED: 6963.8 Miles
Okay, everybody, THE WALK™ has resumed!!!! My first walking day of the season began in Seneca Falls, NY on April 17. But, before I give you the blow-by-blow of this fantastic first week, I have a few announcements to make. First, I want to thank the two families who looked after me for the entire winter I was camped in the Buffalo, NY area.
One of them you are already familiar w/ because he is a regular in the E-Lerts™ newsletter. He came to me last summer when I was camped in the Erie, PA area and straightened out the disaster my computer had become. He simplified all the complicated and unnecessary wiring that was making connection and communication virtually impossible. All I do now is flick a switch!!!! Long story short, he has proven to be so knowledgeable about computers, satellites and all things electronics that I engaged him to write a regular article in this newsletter. He agreed. It is called: “KEVIN’S TECH TIPS” and has become one of our readers’ most popular columns because of the easy to understand helpful hints he includes in each issue. His name is Kevin McBride. His daughter, Gypsy, has been a delight.
The other family I speak of has been equally important to me, personally, as well as a great friend of DDF. I am referring to The Robert (Bobby) Krulls, which includes Barb, the twins and Jennifer. While Kevin was working on the electronics and wiring in the RV (my home and office on the road), Bobby was saving the RV from total devastation due to improper maintenance and neglect suffered during the previous 1 ½ years while out on the road. He repaired, replaced and constructed sub-flooring, flooring and built-in cabinets that now house a complete video center that will allow me to edit, copy and create a variety of film scenarios based on the coverage taken daily. (Kevin and Jennifer Krull) are responsible for setting it up and teaching me the ins-and-outs of how to effectively work the equipment, which allows me full creativity in all mediums involving 8mm tape, CD and DVD.) Additionally, Bobby has fixed, or replaced, all mechanical needs, which were also considerable.
And a very special thanx to Jennifer who took charge of the many hundreds of hours of 8mm tapes by converting them to DVD and cataloguing them. Now, people can visit our home office(s) and view THE WALK™ in our “video room” while surrounded by the dozens of Proclamations presented to me by federal, state and local municipalities, which hang on the walls (thank you Angela for your recently acquired framing and hanging skills).
And now to introduce you to my new Tour Manager(s), Shirley and Russ Barriger. They are a retired couple who hail from ‘the thumb’ of Michigan – Unionville. Actually, retired is an inaccurate word because this gig is everything but easy. However, after spending a VERY active week (plus) together it is clear to me they have the heart and soul necessary to handle the extraordinary demands that come with the territory, as well as the personality(ies), intelligence and work ethic necessary to deal with the various aspects of this gig. Some of these responsibilities include maintenance of all vehicles, media relations, filming and picture taking, coordinating my appearances to a variety of audiences, mapping out my walking routes (which take into account safety, reaching maximum populations, selecting campgrounds) and a whole lot more.
They bring to THE WALK™ a wonderful mix of faith and family (parents of five and grandparents of eight) who fully support their going off on this adventure. They have a son who is a Type I diabetic, so they have a very clear understanding of the difficulties faced by diabetics every day. They are lifelong farmers who switched to organic farming in 1993!! In as much as diabetes is also a metabolic disorder their knowledge of farming, and especially ‘organic’ farming, brings a valuable addition to the message(s) Mr. Diabetes™ is delivering. And because of their lifelong farming experience they are a living example of the benefits of an active lifestyle.
In addition to farming Russ worked as a power plant operator for almost 31 years. He retired from there in June, 2000 and continued on with full-time farming.
Shirley was a full-time Mother for her five children, she also volunteered as a crises pregnancy councilor for the last 10 years. Also, she, along with Russ, has volunteered at numerous Church functions for all their lives.
You will learn a lot more about this wonderful couple as we continue on in THE WALK™.
I look forward to sharing the final 3000+ miles of this epic journey w/ Shirley and Russ. Welcome aboard!!!!!
As you can imagine, there is a lot of excitement building up about getting back on the road. We all feel that the third and final winter interruption is behind us and that the final 3000+ miles will continue “smoothly” (reality requires me to put “ “ around “smoothly”. I’m an optimist, but also VERY much the realist!!).
April 14 was my first interview on Syracuse, NY radio with the popular Bill Colley of WFBL-FM (1390). That set the stage because at that point I knew I would soon be out walking.
Two days later (April 16) was my next radio interview – WSYR-AM (570). It, too, was great!!! The Host of the show is Wendy Meyerson and her co-host was Dr. Steven Wexler. The topic focused on nutrition and the effect ‘proper’ nutrition has on diabetes, along with proper medical oversight and physical fitness. Both hosts are very powerful and knowledgeable voices in this field. Catch the show every Sunday morning at 10am.
Shirley and Russ had located a campground that would be close to the walking route of RTE 20/5 and located just east of Syracuse in Verona. That was their first chore, because very few campgrounds are open this time of year.
The morning of April 17th I interviewed with Reporter Amber Smith who has a regular feature column every Tuesday in the Health Section of Syracuse’s premier newspaper, The Post-Standard. The article will appear in the Tuesday April 25, 2006 Edition. It did, and Amber did a fine job of accurate reporting and captured the fun side of the interview. I particularly enjoyed her including my direct quote of : “… open my refrigerator and you’d think you were stepping into Elmer Fudd’s garden. Big time fruits and vegetables.” And other quotes…………..
On the 17th I took my first official steps of the new walking season at exactly the same location I finished last October due to raw, wet, windy and unrelenting bad weather – The Starlite Motel in Seneca Falls. It was much too dangerous to be on the roads under those conditions without a Tour Manager – I was alone! (as I had been for several months).
During those “off” months I wasn’t idle. I trained for and completed the NYC Marathon on November 6, 2005 w/ friend Ellen Brohard (Gallagher). I also did a lot of walking w/ friend Angela Aitken both in Canada and a few Florida beaches. As I say, “I love to walk – I walk to live – I’ll die before I’ll quit™” !!!!
Well, Shirley and Russ were with me now, the weather has improved and we were all feeling relief to finally be back at it. But, I must admit, that after being somewhat idle during those long winter months, it was a bit difficult to get into the rhythm. Also, we were working together for the first time, although that fact was barely noticeable. I’ll explain……
Before getting started, Russ had arranged for a radio interview with Ted Baker of WSFW-FM (1110). That was fun. Then those first steps…. Well, I’ve got to say, those steps were quite comfortable for the first mile, or so. But, for some reason I was having pain in the small of my back. At that point I knew the initial adjustment period would be uncomfortable – probably for a couple of weeks. But, I had experienced these types of pain before and I knew it was just a matter of reconditioning those muscles. Muscle memory is very real and tends to respond in a positive manner in a short time. (Each walking day it has improved considerably and is not an issue, now – 5 walking days later.)
Anyway, a few miles into the day’s walk we were greeted by photographer Jennifer Meyers of the Auburn Citizen and shortly after by Reporter Anne Gleason. Yup, Russ had arranged for that one, too. (And my compliments to both women for the great job(s) they did). The first day was a 10 mile day. I was satisfied with that.
The next two days were 10.1 miles each. It felt good to be out and meeting lots and lots of folks. I’m into my fifth year of THE WALK™ and I’m always gratified at the number of people who come out to say “hello” and share their time and concerns. It started out that way from the very first steps when walking through Florida. It doesn’t get old!!!!
April 20th was a bit different. It began with me having an insulin reaction just as I was about to start the day’s walk!! I typically get 2-3 of these every month. It’s a result of me trying to maintain good glucose control; every so often it backfires. Insulin reactions occur when I take too much insulin for the food I’m about to eat or when I’m trying to bring down a ‘high’ reading. They are characterized by feeling cold and ‘clammy’, weak/faint, shaky, nauseous, etc. To counter these reactions I usually take Gluco-Tabs. These are tablets specifically designed for such moments. Sometimes I will take candy or a sweet drink, such as orange juice. This time I ate 2 apples (Golden Delicious – my favorite), a few Gluco-Tabs, and Shirley gave me some chocolate she was saving, apparently, for such a time. Like I said, her experience with her own son’s diabetes taught her to be prepared!! She (and Russ) remained calm and watchful ready to take any necessary emergency step(s). I’m VERY fortunate she was there – she knew exactly what to watch for and exactly what to do!!! There can be serious consequences to ‘insulin reactions’ if they are not addressed immediately, including becoming unconscious, or in extreme cases, even death!!! Still, after all was said and done, we managed to walk 7.3 miles. And now, of course, I can relax knowing that I’m in good hands in the event of emergency – and that is HUGE!!!!!!!!!
The 21st was a change of pace; an early call for a TV interview in studio. Now, those who know me know I am a slow starter in the morning – seems to be my natural rhythm. Even when I was on active duty in the Coast Guard Reserves in the mid 1960’s and up at 5am every day for weeks and months at a time, it would take only one day for me to lapse back into wanting to sleep late. Like I said, my “natural rhythm”. The interview was with WTVH-TV CH 5 (CBS affiliate). There I interviewed with Janelle Reichert. Typically, these morning interviews only last for 2-3 minutes. But, I would get up 7 days a week to get that precious air time in order to get out the message of AWARENESS + ACTION = PREVENTION®.
Business meetings with a nutritional supplement catalogue house to review my new line of Mr. Diabetes® supplements took up the rest of the day.
April 22 found me at WTSM-TV CH 3 (NBC and UPN affiliate) at 8:45am. Just over 2 minutes but it does reach a huge audience. It was another fun interview. The Reporter/Anchor was Christina Chatalian.
From here Shirley, Russ and I went to a scheduled appearance at Natur-Tyme, a one-of-a-kind “naturals” food store. This is a 10,000 sq. ft. store that caters to the ever-increasing population of people looking to improve their healthy lifestyles. Here people can get advice from well-qualified experts in the field of nutrition.
Today was Earth Day and we enjoyed a variety of activities to celebrate it. We were there for over 4 hours meeting dozens of people and talking about diabetes, THE WALK™, Defeat Diabetes Foundation, nutrition, fitness and more. This is typical of Natur-Tyme – creating interactive happenings, which involve the Syracuse, NY community. RIGHT-ON owner, Wendy Myerson, Merchandising & Purchasing Manager Robyn Miller and staff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[As an ASIDE: It was a good day to be inside as it was raining very hard!!! But, when I returned to my RV I found it had leaked inside. I spent the next hour mopping up and figuring a way to contain the in-flow of water. Finally, I was successful. Sort of… When I woke up the next morning I had to repeat the exercise. So goes the life of being on the road…. HHMMMMmmmmmmm………………………………].
I celebrated my 61st birthday April 23rd, Sunday by walking 9.7 miles. This walk took me through Syracuse and into the center of Fayetteville, NY.
Tuesday, April 25th, I had the opportunity to address a group of senior citizens at The McChesney Recreation Center in Syracuse, NY. There we were welcomed by Director Mimi Pavetto. The invitation was initiated by Touchstone Health’s Marketing Representative Don Romano and Manager of Medicare Sales Michael McFee. Although I was asked to speak for 30 minutes about diabetes, THE WALK™, Defeat Diabetes Foundation and my personal experience(s) with diabetes, this group kept me there for 1 ½ hours in a very lively Q&A. It was a lot of fun!! Thank you Helen, Rose and all you others…………… The rains kept coming so we decided not to walk.
April 25th was another fabulous day. It began with an invitation to the Ida Benderson Senior Center in downtown Syracuse, NY. Here, again, I addressed a number of seniors who entertained me as much as I enjoyed speaking with them about diabetes issues. Again, the invitation came from Mike McFee and Don Romano of Touchstone Health. Although Senior Center Director Deborah A. Bova wasn’t there to personally greet us because she was off to Albany on Center business, we were graciously received by John O’Connor. More great fun!!!!
This was followed by a visit to meet with Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll. Here I received a Proclamation declaring April 25th as Mr. Diabetes® Day in Syracuse, NY. We talked briefly about the problem of diabetes in his community and I presented him with a few items including a Wake Up and Walk Tour hat, theme song and the “Diabetes and Your Community” white paper that outlines the costs and some practical solutions to preventing diabetes in his community. This event was covered by News 10, a Time Warner 24 hour cable news channel: Reporter: Bill Carey Senior Photojournalist: Tom Walters. Also, representing WTHV CH 5 (CBS affiliate) Photojournalist: Jason Makay.
Now, that wraps up the first week of activities for resuming THE WALK™. This did not happen all by itself. It takes a lot of work from a very supportive staff back in our DDF home office: Jerry, Lisa, Marilyn and Carol. Consultant Ron Moran. And a BIG HIGH FIVE to our Public Outreach Director Dawn Swidorski who is working closely with Shirley and Russ to keep this road show moving. Dawn also arranged the senior center and Natur-Tyme appearances, the meeting with the nutrition catalogue company, TV, radio and newspaper interviews and meeting with Mayor Driscoll. I can hardly wait for next week!!!??????