UPDATE: SEPTEMBER, 2006
LOCATION: Connecticut – New York State Line (along Route 1)
TOTAL MILES: 7704.7
July and August were exceptionally busy. Boston proved to be a GREAT homecoming, as I had a non-stop media and appearance schedule, as well as continuing to walk. I had the opportunity to meet with a number of friends and relatives who showed their deep friendship by supporting me during the visit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit with all my friends. But, friends understand these things……………
SEPTEMBER 1 & 2: Time to pack up and move to the next campground located in Old Mystic, CT. For the last five weeks we (Tour Managers Russ & Shirley Barriger and me) were the guests of Nowell Bloomenthal in Waltham, MA. Nowell arranged for us to camp in his parking lot by his law offices, Tamagini & Bloomenthal. He installed electricity and water for us. This was a huge benefit for us, as there were no campgrounds in the area. By him doing this saved over 100 hours in travel time we otherwise would have been subjected to by traveling from the nearest available campground. Thanks, again, Nowell.
SEPTEMBER 3: I took this day to begin chipping away at a lot of paperwork, which had been piling up.
SEPTEMBER 4: Okay, back to walking. Although camped in Old Mystic, CT, I was still walking in Rhode Island. This day was a 10.0 miles walk that brought me to Greenwich, RI. Shirley walked with me this day and Russ did his thing by manning the support vehicle and all that goes with it. Yep, back on track!!
SEPTEMBER 5: This day began with a very special visit with Robert J. Smith, MD, Professor of Medicine at Brown Medical School in Providence, RI. He is Director of the Division of Endocrinology at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School. He is, also, the Director of The Hallet Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology.
We visited for a couple of hours during which time we discussed the diabetes epidemic facing the nation, as well as in Rhode Island. We talked about what MR. DIABETES® and THE WALK™ is doing to impact diabetes and related issues and how he is doing the same in his region. We agreed that prevention is the goal followed by early identification in order to avoid the serious complications that can/will occur otherwise. He gave valuable insight into the medical issues. Then, followed a tour of The Hallet Center.
Clearly, Rhode Island is fortunate to have this man at the helm in this fight for a solution, as a cure is not likely in the foreseeable future, and beyond!!!
From there I had an interview with The Daily Times in West Warwick, RI. Reporter: Jessica Carr.
Then, even though it rained, managed to log some miles.
SEPTEMBER 6: More walking. But, Russ and I were pretty tired, as we were up most of the night dealing with the car’s alarm system, which kept going off. The ultimate solution was to pull the fuse; should have thought of that to begin with, but each time the horn went off we thought we had remedied the situation. Oh, well…… Other campers in the campground were nice enough to not complain about it, but………………… It’s always something!!
SEPTEMBER 7: Today began with a VERY fun meeting with Providence, RI City Council President, Councilman John J. Lombardi. Himself a diabetic he brings a great awareness to the political arena. Diabetes must be fought in all areas of society and it’s obvious that Rhode Island has fantastic leadership here.
I shared a lot of similar background(s) with Councilman Lombardi in that we are both city bred (me from Boston and he from Federal Hill), we both have Black Belts in Kempo Karate, we’re about the same age (me 61, he 58), both insulin-dependent diabetics and he has a deep sincerity to impact this disease. He wants to help and Providence should take advantage of this incredible resource.
And, John, thank you for the Proclamation.
Next came an interview with The Westerly Times. Thank you Reporter: Leslie Rovetti and Photographer: Joshua Lebovitz for a wonderful article.
Shirley walked with me and I knocked off another State, as I crossed into Connecticut at Pawcutuck.
And, as a reminder, The East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) is headquartered in Providence, RI. This fantastic bicycle/pedestrian way stretches from Calais, ME to The Florida Keyes – 2900 miles!!! Karen Votava – Executive Director.
SEPTEMBER 8 – 11: These were walking days and DDF work days. Still trying to catch up…………..
SEPTEMBER 12: This day began with a 7:45am in-studio interview at WBLQ Radio (96.7) with HOST: Vito DiPaola in Westerly, RI. This is a community based and family owned radio station; President Chris DiPaola. Vito is Chris’s 78 year old Grandfather who has the mental facility and physical presence of someone half his age. Vito ‘owns’ the airwaves in Westerly; he enjoys a devoted following and it was my pleasure and privilege to share time with him on-air.
From there followed a 15.1 miles walk that took me to Westbrook, CT. During this walk I met Tom Whalen and Jerry Wisneski, as I was crossing the Connecticut River. I was looking for the best way to stay on Route 1, as it got a bit confusing at that particular point. They were very helpful AND entertaining. Thanks, guys.
Then, many miles and hours later, while walking in Westbrook and as I was talking with a person who had stopped to talk about diabetes, along came Tom and Jerry. That was a fun way to finish up the day!!
SEPTEMBER 13: This was moving day. Our next campground was to the fabulous Riverdale Farm Campsite in Clinton, CT. It was a short 35 miles from Old Mystic, CT where we were camped, so after setting up camp I was able to go out and do a short walk.
Then, serendipity hit, again. Out of nowhere stopped a bright yellow car. And guess who appeared? Jerry Wisneski and, this time, with his beautiful wife, Gloria. Are they stalking me?? HHMMMmmmm……………………….
SEPTEMBER 14 & 15: Heavy rains both days. So, more time wrestling with the computer, lots of neighborhood PR and laundry.
SEPTEMBER 16 & 17: Two days of GREAT weather and walking conditions. Reached East Haven, CT.
SEPTEMBER 18: This day found me riding back to Pawtucket, RI. I was scheduled for a three hour appearance at the YMCA for a neighborhood event sponsored by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (Maria Matias) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (Elizabeth Mascielli-Mattingly).
This was a terrific program for the community. People showed up in a steady flow and sizeable numbers. They received education in nutrition from Karen Zongari, MS, RD, LDN, CDOE.
Mary P. Zohlner, RN representing Johnson & Johnson gave new LifeScan glucometers to diabetics and informative instruction on its use.
Salome Tomar and Ed Garcia were there representing another diabetic organization.
Max Zapata of Vanguard Home Medical Equipment was there giving advice and Body-Mass Index devices.
As for me, I was there to talk about proper foot care. I guess I can be considered an expert on the self-management of diabetic foot care, as I have to address this very issue every day in order to do THE WALK™. Not only is proper daily examination of critical importance, but foot wear is equally important. To this end I recommend the VERY special diabetic socks I wear. For more information on the socks I use to protect my feet go to our New Defeat Diabetes® Sock Store
While there I interviewed with Paul V. Palange, President and Publisher of the informative Senior Digest.
Shirley and Russ were also extremely busy at this event. Their background as organic farmers and being parents of a Type 1 diabetic (now a grown man with his own family) made them a focus of interest to the attendees.
LOOK FOR SHIRLEY’S GARDEN IN OUR E-LERTS™ NEWSLETTER. Here Shirley gives wonderful healthful and helpful organic gardening and cooking tips. DON’T MISS IT!!!!!
SEPTEMBER 19: Color me ‘lucky’ – a lost Priority Mail package finally showed up. It had been missing for a few weeks, but it finally showed up at Old Mystic, CT. We made a bee line for it, first thing. It wasn’t too far out of the way, as I had an appearance at 10am at a Senior Center in New London, CT.
There I was greeted by Director Elizabeth Witter and a large room of seniors. Russ and Shirley brought their typical humor to the event and, even, worked the mike a bit.
Soon after I had an interview with The Pictorial Gazette: Reporter: Corey Sipe.
I was a little under the weather, so I made an executive decision not to walk after the interview. Too bad, because it was a beautiful day. Oh, well………………..
SEPTEMBER 20: This day there wasn’t time for walking. We did a lot of driving/riding…..
It began with a visit to Stamford, CT to meet with Mayor Dannel P. Malloy. (No, I did not misspell his name [maybe his parents did, though]. It is spelled daNNel.). He has been Mayor for twelve years. Mayor Malloy presented me with a Proclamation. I, in turn, gave him our Defeat Diabetes Foundation White Paper. It is a thirty-three page document which addresses many issues faced by diabetics (and others) in communities. We further discussed the effects of diabetes on individuals and his community and how we might work together to impact this insidious disease.
From there we took a ride to New London, CT. I was scheduled to address a diabetes support group at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Lawrence And Memorial Hospital. This support group is headed up by Deb Peterson. And, although I was scheduled to speak for 30 minutes to be followed by a Q & A session, I was there for almost two hours. It wasn’t a large group, but they were interested and interesting. And always fun!!
SEPTEMBER 21 & 22: Well, back to walking. Both days got me to Bridgeport, CT. On 9/22 I did a phone interview with The Middletown News: Reporter: Joe Wentsel.
It is no surprise to anyone that I am directionally challenged. Typically, when I walk through cities there are sidewalks. These are safer to walk on than the open roads I walk when between cities. Anyway, during these times Russ/Shirley point me in a direction and stay in touch by walkie-talkie or phone, as they go ahead and scout out the road and road conditions ahead. They figured I couldn’t get lost by walking Route 1 – no small roadway.
Well, guess what? I was walking Route 1 (also known as Barnum Ave.). At one point Route 1 and Barnum Ave. split. I didn’t notice the signs that loudly declared that split and I continued to walk down Barnum Ave. I didn’t realize it for a couple of miles, as I walked deeper and deeper into ‘the hood’. I finally realized it when Barnum Ave. came to an end by Williams Street. Clearly, I was lost!!
As I looked down Williams St. I saw a number of people in neighborhood. So, I approached them hoping they could point me in the right direction. This they did, but in the process I made a number of wonderful new friends: Jelissa T. and her younger brother Jose, Juan Iglesias and several of his sisters and nephew. Also, John, Flaco, Carlos and Luis Vaz. There were many more, but didn’t get all their names. But, what I did learn was that there are diabetics in this neighborhood, too. We talked for quite a while and shared information.
When I located Shirley and Russ on the phone (they were waiting for me on Route 1), they continued to guide me to Route 1. We then went back to that neighborhood. Here, we all got to meet again and Shirley mixed right in with the cameras and took lots of pictures. Russ stayed behind the wheel and kept the car running.
It was a very productive mis-direction!!!
SEPTEMBER 23: I tried something a bit different this day. I went into New Haven to play tourist – maybe visit Yale University. I rarely do this, as I would never have gotten out of Florida if I had been a tourist. It seems that every community has historical landmarks and beautiful sights. So, I must stay focused on the mission at hand and save the touring for after I complete THE WALK™. I first needed to hit the ATM, so I went to a shopping mall. Well, it didn’t take more than a minute before people were coming over to me to ask questions and share experiences. It continued for several hours. It was a lot of fun, but I never did get to see Yale University.
SEPTEMBER 24: I was up quite early this Sunday morning. I had to be back in New Haven for an in-studio TV interview. I had to be there by 6:45am for a 7:15am appearance. It was at WTNH Channel 8 (ABC) and also UPN Channel 9. Fabio Lonero is the Associate Producer who greeted us and the 3 ½ minute interview was with Jodi.
While waiting in the Green Room (it wasn’t green) to go on we met a very interesting guest who was to go on immediately before me. His name is Michael Stadther. Mike is a publisher, but also the author of the hugely popular The Alchemist Dar. Mike was here promoting his second book in what looks like a series of adventure books. This book is about real treasures that he personally places in public places around the country, which when found by people, can be turned into serious cash. The next Tuesday he was to appear on The Today Show.
Always something/someone new and interesting……………………..
After that we drove back to Clinton where we are camped in Riverdale Farm Campsite. I went back to bed; Russ & Shirley went to church.
SEPTEMBER 25: This day began with a visit to Bridgeport, CT to meet with Mayor John Fabrizi. Along with the Mayor’s Community Liason, Caryn S. Kaufman, we spent a delightful hour in his office. Mayor Fabrizi outlined the fantastic programs he has initiated to help combat diabetes. The programs are continuous and city-wide.
He gave us, each, a pin of Bridgeport. Mine went immediately onto my hat, which sports an array of pins given to me along THE WALKä by well wishers who want me to take a piece of them with me, for luck. I gave him my typical package, including our Defeat Diabetes Foundation White Paper.
This Mayor is the real deal!!!
I then went walking. When I reached Westport I was interviewed by The Westport Times: Managing Editor: Frances Moore and Reporter: Kirk Lang.
SEPTEMBER 26: Another great day! It began with an appearance at the Atwater Senior Center in New Haven, CT. It’s one of many neighborhood senior facilities and very well attended by community seniors.
Before we got there, Digital Debbie (that’s what Russ dubbed our GPS system), mis-directed us to an out-of-commission bridge, which made it impossible for us to then figure out how to reach the senior center. So we put in a call and help soon arrived to lead us back to where we wanted to go.
Upon arrival we were greeted by Director Filipina Fiondella. In addition to Filipina was Darcey Lynn Cobbs, Director of The Community Service Administration Department of Elderly Services for the City of New Haven and part of her team, Sharon Bishop. Also there was Mara A. Lavitt, photo journalist for The New Haven Register newspaper. And afterwards I recorded an interview with Evan Goldman of radio WQUN-AM (1220).
There were 45 seniors in attendance, and they were a great audience – actively involved and respectfully attentive. We shared a lot of time together – it was FUN!!
After I spoke, Darcey presented me with a Proclamation from Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. The Mayor couldn’t come himself as he had prior commitments – he is the Democratic candidate for Governor of Connecticut. Incidentally, he edged out Mayor Dan Malloy of Stamford for that honor. I understand it was a close election – a difference of only a few votes, literally!!!
From there I went for a walk. I reached Norwalk, CT.
SEPTEMBER 27: Another beautiful day to walk. But, before that I enjoyed an interview with The Norwalk Advocate. Reporter: Alexandra (Ali) Fenwick and Photographer: Chris(topher) Preovolos. It was clear that Ali was no rookie as a newspaper woman. Great interview!! As it worked out, her article appeared the next day in The Norwalk Advocate, The Stamford Advocate and The Greenwich Times. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I reached the Darien/Stamford city line.
SEPTEMBER 28: This was another great day for walking. I started where I finished the day before – Smokey Joe’s Grille at the Darien/Stamford city line. And what a day this turned out to be. All three papers (from Ali Fenwick’s interview) published. So, as I walked through these VERY beautiful communities I was continuously greeted with horns honking from passing vehicles, people coming out of their cars and stores to say hello and take pictures and share stories, etc. And Russ & Shirley were equally greeted. To be clear, we typically get this kind of greeting going through ALL communities. But, with extraordinary media coverage, as we got here, the noise level went super high!!!
The end of the day came when I reached the Connecticut/New York State Line.
SEPTEMBER 29: This was the last day at Riverdale Farms Campsite. (Tomorrow we move to New Jersey.) Ran around doing a few errands, including a final visit to the local UPS Store in Clinton. Jeff Von Flatern, owner, and Linda Anderson have served me well during my stay in Clinton. They have notarized a number of documents and shipped a number of mail pieces and fragile packages. Thanks UPS.
Okay, that’s my UPDATE for September, 2006. I know I still have some catching up to do in the August UPDATE. I’ll get to it – promise. There were many exciting happenings then, but I decided I’d keep current and get to August as time permits.
So, again I thank you for you understanding and continued support.