MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
LOCATION: Schenectady, NY
TOTAL MILES: 7085.3 miles
We’re getting into a rhythm; Shirley and Russ are very quick learners. They hadn’t done anything like this before, but their attitude(s) and work ethic(s) are fantastic – so, all is well and getting better every day.
April 26 included an interview with the Oneida Dispatch. Reporter: Andrew Brown and photographer: John came out to the walk site. That was at the end of the day – walked 10.4 miles.
April 27 was an interesting day. I drove to Albany, NY to meet with a potential shoe sponsor. As is my custom, when reviewing product(s) and service(s), I personally try them out or research them. Most get kicked to the curb. But, this particular shoe company is one that shows great potential. I will continue to do my due diligence, but they have been under review for about ten months, and so far, product and management hold up beautifully.
April 28 was a radio interview with WMCR – AM (1600) followed by a 10.2 mile walk.
April 29 was a perfect day for walking. The temperature was in the low 60’s, sunny and a slight breeze. Shirley joined me for 5 miles of the 11.6 miles for the day’s walk.
Also, there was an interview with the Rome Sentinel Newspaper.
And, as we all know, little things happen in our lives that aren’t always convenient. Well, here’s one that happened to me. The day before (April 28) I had dropped my laundry off at a local Laundromat for them to do a “wash, dry and fold” – that’s one luxury I allow myself while out on the road. I picked it up at the end of the day and found, after I got back to the RV, that I also had someone else’s laundry, as well as my own. So, before heading out on this day’s walk we had to do a 30 minute detour to return the wrong laundry. I was happy that this time it wasn’t my laundry that ended up in someone else’s bag. Yup, things do happen!!!!
Sunday, April 30, Nephew Daniel and girlfriend, Jen, drove up from Cornell University in Utica, NY (a ninety minute ride) and we spent the evening together. Family time is always fun for me.
May 1 was a mini-landmark day. This day, as I walked through New Hartford, NY I reached the 7000 miles mark. This city is just west of Utica. Another perfect day with the weather!!!!
Interviews: *Follow-up with The Rome Sentinel; *WKTV News Channel 2 (NBC) Reporter Pat Bailey (Utica, NY); *Smart Marketing & Media, LTD (also from Utica, NY); and, The Utica Dispatch newspaper – reporter Elizabeth Cooper.
May 2 proved to be a mix of both good and disaster!!! I’ll explain…………
It started out with two early morning radio interviews: 30 minutes on WIBX-AM (950) with Jim Rondenelli and Dave Andrews followed by an interview with Nick Caplan on Rock Channel WODZ-FM (96). Shirley, Russ and I each were given shirts to add to our collections of gifts. Lots of fun!!!!
Then, at 11am I met with Utica Mayor Timothy J. Julian. He presented me with a Proclamation declaring May 2 as MR. DIABETES® Day in Utica, NY. An honor for me. I, in turn presented him with our DDF White Paper and we discussed the various programs already being offered for diabetics in Utica and, also, how DDF can help to impact the cause, further.
It was already a long day, so I opted not to walk. But then, the worst possible thing happened to me – BRONCHITIS!!! This is my Achilles Heel. I have suffered from this chronic condition for over thirty years. Outbreaks are infrequent, my last occasion was when walking through Montana exactly two years ago. When they happen life for me changes drastically. Breathing becomes a major effort, the bronchial passages close up, coughing uncontrollably (24/7) is typical and my lungs fill up with fluid. My longest encounter lasted six months and the briefest, until now, has been a couple of months. Usually, I have a warning, of sorts – head cold, sore throat, minor cough – something. Not this time!!! It came on like gangbusters in just a few hours.
Fortunately, however, I still have pre-market access to an incredible technology; the same device that helped me during my last bout with bronchitis when in Montana two years ago. So, I immediately began treatment and although it wasn’t a pleasant time for me, I was able to breath for the entire time (coughing continued, though, and other discomforts, too) and able to function minimally, at first, and more so as time passed. Also, of note, the entire episode only lasted till May 19, with barely a hint of the bronchitis still observable. Unheard of!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[AN ASIDE: This device is currently being made ready for the general public and is projected to be available by the end of 2007. And, fortunately, it has several diabetic applications.]
On May 3, as a result of the bronchitis, I was unable to meet my commitment of meeting with the diabetic support group at Faxton-St. Lukes Hospital in Utica. Efforts to reschedule were not successful.
For the next week I stayed in, nursed my bronchitis and tried to catch up on paperwork.
May 9 & 10 I pushed the envelope a bit and walked 10.4 miles and 10 miles respectively.
May 11 was another full day. It began with a meeting with Schenectady, NY Mayor Brian U. Stratton. We spent a lot of time together discussing his city’s health situation and the programs he is working and how DDF can assist. Our DDF White Paper was given to him. And I was honored with a Proclamation declaring May 11 as MR. DIABETES® DAY in Schenectady, NY.
This was followed up with a 30 minute radio interview with Dave Michaels of WROR-AM (570).
That night was a special night for me. I was invited to speak at Union College, an institution founded in 1795 and well known and respected for the high caliber of student(s) who graduate from it. The focus of the evening was to learn more about a program helping the homeless in the Schenectady area. I was invited because so many of the homeless in this program are diabetic.
The invitation came from Michael Zaplin a graduating student who will be attending Albany Medical School next year. This man’s compassion for helping others was clearly demonstrated to me by the quality of meeting he directed and the number of students who attended. The name of the program is the Volunteer Physician’s Project (VPP); associated with the Schenectady Free Health Clinic.
Along with Michael, who hosted this event, I shared speaking honors with Co-Medical Directors Clifford Tepper, MD and Arnold Ritterbrand, MD. The Union College professor coordinator is Director, MBA Program in Health Systems Administration School of Management – Martin Strosberg, PhD.
The real significance of the VPP is the demonstrating of how wonderfully effective an effort of dedicated individuals can be to a community. They could, and should, be a model of community activism for the entire nation. This, I believe, is the most effective way to meet an ever-growing epidemic facing our population. KUDO’s to you all!!!!!
May 12 was a big day for DDF. We launched our new website. Our Program Director, Lisa Rasolt, has been coordinating this massive undertaking for quite some time. I urge you all to visit www.DefeatDiabetes.org as a premier resource of diabetes information, a review of Products & Services that will benefit all diabetics, follow The MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR and a whole lot more………………
May 15 was moving day. Moved to Arrowhead Marina & RV Park in Glenville, NY.
May 17 began with a radio interview: WGY-AM (810) in Schenectady, NY. Host: Don Weeks. And, at 6pm I had the pleasure of addressing the Troy/Albany Lions Club. They are an enthusiastic and fun group. Although I was scheduled to speak for thirty minutes, because of an extended Q&A I was on for about two hours. WHAT A GROUP!!!!!!
May 18 I walked 9.7 miles. The weather was a mix of nice sunny weather and rain. I walked from Little Falls to St. Johnsville. The bronchitis was still a minor factor, especially during the raw and rainy weather. But, not bad enough to stop forward progress. I interviewed with The Evening Times - reporter/publisher Donald A Paparella. The Evening Times is The Mohawk Valley’s oldest newspaper.
May 19 took me as far as Palatine Bridge – 10.4 miles.
The next day I walked 12.2 miles along The Canalway Trail. Rainy weather, but quiet and safe.
My next walking day was May 22. Again I walked The Canalway Trail – 10.1 miles. Along the way I interviewed with WRGB – TV Channel 6 (CBS) Reporter Craig Smith and News Photographer Vince Horan.
May 23 was a major interview day. No walking this day. It began with a radio interview: National Public Radio (NPR) at WAMC-AM/FM (1400/101.3). Bob Barrett was the Host. This interview is being aired nationwide into 177 markets!!! Another great piece of public relations by our Public Outreach Director, Dawn Swidorski.
Dawn was busy putting this day together because she also arranged for a live appearance on Public Broadcasting System (PBS) on that night’s Health Link Show with the hugely popular Benita Zahn.
May 24 I met with Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings. He received me in his inner office in City Hall. Now here is an office steeped in history. Hanging over the mantle is a (guestimate) 20 foot original painting of Albany’s first Mayor Schuyler. Fantastic woodwork makes up his entire office, and he is surrounded by all kinds of memorabilia – sports, political and more. Very impressive.
Anyway, there we talked about diabetes in Albany and I gave him our White Paper. And he presented me with a Proclamation. I had a photo session with him and his office staff. Lots of fun!!!!!!!!!! WNYT-TV Channel 13 (NBC) was there to cover it. Reporter Mark Szpylczyn (pronounced: spill-son).
After that I interviewed with The Recorder newspaper of Troy, NY
And May 25 was another busy day with appearances and interviews. It began with a meeting with Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian. Troy is another beautiful city steeped in history. We met outside under the beautiful monument that highlights the center of town. He presented me with a Proclamation and I gave him our White Paper. These honors never get old!!!!
From there we scooted back to Albany for an interview at WNYT-TV Channel 13 (NBC) for a 3pm interview with Benita Zahn. The interview was for 3 ½ minutes, but the exposure is tremendous. Benita has a hue following, and it was a distinct privilege to be invited back by her for a second interview. This lady really gets around…….
Later that night, I did an awesome interview with Sarah Brooks from The Recorder newspaper of Amsterdam, NY. It lasted 1 ¼ hours. Very comprehensive!!!
May 26 was moving day, again. We moved to Hinsdale, NH. A little further away from my walking start point (Glenville, NY – 100 miles away) but the Memorial Day weekend was upon us and all the closer campgrounds were booked solid. Oh, well…………….
Anyway, to my delight and surprise, I was greeted by 6 or 7 kids who wanted to meet MR. DIABETES® and get his autograph. It just keeps getting better!!!!!!!!!!
May 29 we decided that the best way to close the 100 mile gap was to pack our bags for a few days, drive back to Glenville, NY and shotgun a walking effort. But, not all good ideas work out………………….
After a 2 ¾ hour drive (tough driving on those mountain roads [RTE 9 and RTE 7]), I set out in 90 degree sun. First I forgot to put on my hat – dumb!! Then, I got on The Canalway Trail to head east. But, I went in the wrong direction (west) and ended up walking 6.6 miles extra – dumber!!
Finally, I finished up at Union College (where I gave the talk on May 11) and only gained 6.4 miles progress on the total distance. I do keep a record of all the extra miles I have walked due to mistakes, etc. I will keep these in “banked miles” for if and when I may need them for crossing through tunnels, over bridges, construction sites, due to law enforcement action, or other EXTREMELY dangerous distances I come across along the way where walking is truly impossible. I should say, however, to date these situations haven’t totaled more than a few miles (single digits), and I have recorded every instance any of these situations have occurred.
On a final note(s) for this UPDATE I want to thank Shirley and Russ Barriger for their very wonderful work as Tour Manager(s). A dream team!!!!! Also, Shirley is doing a fair share of walking, also. She’ll join me when walking conditions are safe and will walk at a good pace for up to 5 miles at a time. Everybody should take a hint from this.
And, a special thanx to Angela Aitkin for her superb work in developing a MR. DIABETES® logo that will appear on all things official that will be endorsed by MR DIABETES®. This has been no small undertaking - from finding the talented artist capable of doing this exacting and difficult work and, then, getting it done. KUDOS, Angela!!!!