MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
UPDATE: NOVEMBER, 2006All-in-all things are moving along pretty well. My major two concerns for the past year have been, first - to be able to take the time necessary to meet and share information and war stories with the huge population(s) that exist in the Northeast Corridor (Maine to Virginia). I understand that 25% of the U.S. population lives in this Northeast area. That equates to 75 million people. That’s a lot of people!! And Shirley, Russ and I have been meeting and talking with an endless number of them. Remember, the support vehicle is a moving billboard and attracts to THE WALK™ those curious about diabetes no matter where we are, 24/7. Plus, with all the media coverage and appearances, as well as walking down high traffic streets and through the various neighborhoods, people do respond. And add to that, I’m walking wearing a bright international orange colored vest with all kinds of necessary equipment hanging from it. I’m certainly no secret. And then, when I have company walking with me, mostly Shirley who also wears the bright vest(s), that’s even more attention. So, I’m more than pleased that this aspect continues to be hugely successful.
LOCATION: Havre de Grace, Maryland
TOTAL MILES WALKED: 7904.7
And my second concern has been to make sure I get far enough south so as not to have to break again for winter. I had to break for winter 3 times as I crossed the northern tier. Those breaks work VERY much against me because I lose momentum in all areas of THE WALK™. But, right now, things are looking good; I should be able to beat those winter snows.
So, I’m not feeling pressured about that, any more.
Also, the recognition from elected officials continues. But one honor coming up on December 26 is a VERY bright star for Defeat Diabetes Foundation. We have been selected by the TV network shopping show, QVC, to participate in their annual feature presentation, and I invite you all to watch and participate. I’ll explain……..
Once a year, December 26, QVC invites a select group of highly qualified, productive and proven charities to participate in an all night awareness campaign. From 12:01 on the morning of December 26 till 8am, QVC will continuously play and re-play PSA programming featuring these charities deserving of your support. There were only 70, or so, such charities in the entire nation invited to participate in this event – Defeat Diabetes Foundation is one of them. We are thrilled to have our good works recognized.
Please explore the DDF website and learn more about us. We offer over 2000 pages of information about diabetes – arguably the most informative website available for diabetes information. And when you do, we hope you, too, will recognize the positive impact we are having on diabetes and will support us by making an on-line donation or by sending a check to:
Defeat Diabetes Foundation
150 153rd Ave., Suite 300
Madeira Beach, FL 33738
Your donation is fully tax deductible. 100% (minus bank processing fees) of all donations sent directly to Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF) stay with DDF.
Should you designate a particular Defeat Diabetes® Program you wish to support, your entire donation will go there.
(See OCTOBER, 2006 update). Meet Zohar Laor, Cheri and cute-as-a-button Isabella.
(See October, 2006 UPDATE) Meet Julie Jaskiewicz, RD, CDE and Executive Director Paul A. Mertz of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, NJ. Also, Eric Stewart, who owns “Not Just Windows” (973.391.9347).
As I mentioned in last month’s UPDATE (OCTOBER, 2006) this was moving day to Clarksboro, NJ. It started out a bit ‘shakey’, as we missed the turn into the campground and I got stuck in a parking lot that turned out to be too small to U-TURN. We had to unhook the Support Vehicle, which I pull behind my RV when we move to a new campground. The total ‘footage’ of vehicle(s) I drive is 60’ +/-. (That in itself has provided me with a number of adventures.)
Anyway, after unhooking the Support Vehicle, so I would have enough room in which to turn the RV around and then drive the SV separately to the nearby campground, the SV wouldn’t start; the ignition switch was inadvertently left partially on and had drained the battery. It is necessary to have the ignition switch partially on in order to free the front wheels of the SV when in tow. However, the ignition switch was turned just one notch too far. Oops!!! But, this time we were prepared, as we had picked up a ‘battery jumper’ after our last same experience (see October, 2006 UPDATE). It started right up!! …always nice when a backup plan works when needed.
OCTOBER 29: That was the day I went out to dinner with dear friends from Cherry Hill, NJ., Shirley Gallant Kee and Ollie Kee. I learned then that they have been married for 26 years, although our friendship pre-dates that by 16+ years. Actually, Jerry’s friendship with them pre-dates mine. My, how time does fly!!! But, still looking GREAT!!!!
Ollie Kee and Shirley Gallant Kee
OCTOBER 30: This was a wonderful day of walking through Historic Philadelphia. The weather cooperated and people couldn’t have been nicer. Some of the ‘beautiful people’ I met: Beth Greene from Richmond, IL but now a Carriage Driver in Philly. (Her horse is Obiwan.) Look for Beth in the future on Sports Illustrated, as she is a competitive Rower (one of my favorite sports-I have my Rowing Machine with me) and is planning on making the National U.S.A. Rowing Team. Rowing is a GREAT exercise, folks. [AN ASIDE: And incidentally, DDF Vice President on our Board of Directors, Nowell Bloomenthal, is also an avid rower.]
Also, I met Raymond Apana, who had met Russ & Shirley in church the day before. Raymond has been working in Philly for 6 years. He embraced them and came out to visit to show his support. I always look forward to such visits and making new friends.
And let’s not forget Captain Jesse, who owns a fruit stand on Washington St. and gave us about 20lbs. of fruit. WOW!!!!!
OCTOBER 31: This day was a real eye-opener!! I walked through West/South Philly and I don’t recall seeing ANYTHING that compares to the blighted neighborhood(s) I witnessed here!!!! The ONLY other city that MAY have come close was/is Gary, Indiana!!! This is SHOCKING!! And SHAMEFUL!! Entire blocks of houses and buildings, block after block, burned, boarded up, and others in various states of dilapidation!!! Yet, people are as nice as nice can be. MR. DIABETES® was warmly received wherever I went and with whomever I spoke. Everyone knows I am not overtly political but, rather VERY pro-American. I find it shameful that our political leaders find the money (tens of millions of dollars) for some of the most wasteful projects/programs (it’s all in the records for anyone who cares to look!!) and, yet, make NO EFFORT to help improve these neighborhoods and the lives of the residents in them!!! SHAMEFUL!!!! Meet Charles Williams, Mark Ray and Val. And the ‘Hood”!! (Especially, the Woodland area of Philly.)
NOVEMBER 1: Russ had made arrangements w/ the Public Relations Office of the Coast Guard
Training Center in Cape May, NJ, which is located about 70 miles from where we are camped (Clarksboro, NJ), to take a tour of the facility. He did basic training there in late 1965 and I went through there in early 1966. Needless to say it was not the same place. We were restricted to
driving down ONLY 2 streets and only had 25 minutes on Base - 4 minutes of which were eaten up explaining the rules.
It was an easy drive down, enjoyed riding around Cape May (great small
beach resort town) and an equally scenic ride back.
NOVEMBER 2: It began with me receiving a “Citation” (a Proclamation by any other name is still a Proclamation) issued by Mayor John F. Street. Philly was in “election mode” this entire week, so I didn’t get to meet with The Mayor. But, it surely is one beautiful document from The City of Brotherly Love. Good job, Dawn.
Even though I didn’t get to meet The Mayor, I did get to meet the Security Staff in the lobby: Luisa Rodriguez, Yvette Meredith and Raymond Butler. Of course, they were all business in a very nice way, as we passed through the security clearance upon entering the City Hall Annex where The Mayor’s office is. After that, we became fast friends.
Usually, I present Officials with a MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR hat when we meet. However, this time I made an exception. On the way out I gave The Mayor’s hat to Luisa to give to her diabetic nephew, Bevo. I’m sure The Mayor won’t mind, and from what I understand about Mayor Street, he might very well have done the same gesture himself. Anyway, Bevo, you got the hat!!!
From there we went to the Museum of Art. This beautiful structure was made world famous by Sylvester Stallone in his movie role: Rocky Balboa – ROCKY!!! Remember when he ran up those steps to that inspirational Theme Song?? Well, both me and Shirley climbed the 98 steps, as did so many others.
NOVEMBER 3: More walking through Greater Philadelphia. And meeting many more folks. Russ worked his magic once again, and arranged for an interview with the Daily Times, Robert J. Gurecki, Photojournalist. Getting Media coverage during this election season has been very difficult. This interview took place in front of Bailey’s Place (an apparel store) – meet Roosevelt Bailey, a very gentle giant. Also, meet Marlene from Cutters Corner in Prospect Park, PA. She was/is amazed at the distance I have walked!!!
NOVEMBER 4: This was another beautiful day. The weather has been cooperating. The day began with a Board of Directors meeting. All’s well on the home front, folks!!
I had accepted a very special invitation to attend a regional meeting being held in Baltimore, MD by the East Coast Greenway Alliance. This most fantastic pedestrian trail goes for 2900 miles from Callais, ME (at the Canadian Border) down the East Coast to The Florida Keyes. DDF and MR. DIABETES® support this fantastic initiative to make exercise fun and safe for all who use The Trail. However, by the time I would have finished with the Board of Directors meeting and then traveled the 100 miles to Baltimore, their meeting would have ended. I look forward to future opportunities to share their cause. Thank you Director Karen Votava and Jennifer Wiant for thinking of me.
After that was walk-time. Shirley walked with me today. The conditions of the neighborhoods have improved considerably, as we headed south and west. Marcus Hook, PA is the last city in PA before crossing into Delaware. (This stretch of road reveals how huge the oil business is. The Sunoco refinery occupies many square miles – and this is only Sunoco, and it is only one of Sunoco’s many refineries. How can there possibly be an oil shortage??!!!? IT DEFIES LOGIC!!) Of course, there are no Welcome To Delaware signs. But, after checking out a few street signs and signs on buildings it was clear we
were in Claymont, DE. To be sure, though, I stopped a fellow who was walking by and he confirmed the fact. Not only that, but he served as a goodwill ambassador for Delaware and gave us all a VERY hearty “WELCOME TO DELAWARE”!! Meet Derrick Quillen. He was shortly joined by his friend Vinnie who extended his welcome.
NOVEMBER 5: A day off. Went into Philly and around. I’m not much of a tourist, but Historic Philadelphia is impossible for me to ignore. Anyway, I’m still talking with people about diabetes wherever I go. I still try to talk with 25-50 people each and every day. The population here makes it very easy to reach that number and, actually, a great many more. MR. DIABETES® is equally well received in all communities. It just doesn’t get old!!!
NOVEMBER 6: This day I reached downtown Wilmington. I saw a radio station located on the outer fringes of Wilmington, WJBR-FM (99.5); I was looking for news coverage. I was greeted by Music Director/On-Air Personality, Catey Hill. Catey was very gracious and supportive of THE WALK™. I look forward to the interview.
Some others I met: Tawanna Gans and boyfriend, Lamont. They were at a bus stop. Also there was Mildred Garcia and her two young cousins.
NOVEMBER 7: This was a fun and interesting day. First of all, it was the long awaited Election Day when Americans finally get to speak their minds at the ballot box and, hopefully, put an end to all the confusion and bickering affecting America. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “A house divided cannot stand”. And, MR. DIABETES® can get back to spreading the message:
AWARENESS + ACTION = PREVENTION®
Although I knew the election coverage by the news media would dominate the airwaves for the next several days, I feel that diabetes doesn’t take a holiday or a day off. So, I don’t either.
On my way down the road I spotted TV NEWS Channel Comcast 8. So, in typical fashion I stopped in to see what kind of coverage I could get, knowing full well today was impossible and, probably, the next several days. But, I did meet with News Anchor Gwen Owens who was very enthusiastic about THE WALK™. And Receptionist Katie Billings was equally receptive. I look forward to an interview with Gwen.
And now for a little twist. Apparently, unbeknown to me, there was an “alert” out on me. I’ll explain:
When I went into the Comcast studio I called Russ & Shirley on the walkie-talkie to let them know I was leaving the road and where I was going. At that point, Russ told me he was parked at the gate of The Delaware State Hospital (a mile, or so, down the road) and that they were waiting for me, there; and that he and Shirley weren’t alone. New York has Bellevue State Hospital, Boston has Mattapan State Hospital and Delaware has Delaware State Hospital. I didn’t think any more about it and went into Comcast.
Then, when I came out I notified them, again, that I was back on the road (sidewalk, actually) and heading that way. Russ reiterated the same comment, that they’re waiting for me. When I arrived at the hospital gate, Russ & Shirley were talking with a Delaware State Policeman, Dominick Remedio, who was inside of the locked gate. After a few minutes of chatting, Officer Remedio told me what Russ & Shirley already knew (R & S were playing with me), that Police stationed at a Security building had described a man walking in the direction of the hospital, wearing an international orange colored vest and walking with a pole. That they were following my actions on cameras situated all along the highway and were considering me for either being an escapee or a potential resident. Either way, be aware!!!
Well, after exchanging pleasantries for a half hour, we all remained on our respective sides of the gate. When Dawn’s husband Tony heard about it, he wondered OUT LOUD why it hasn’t happened before now!!! HHMMmmmm………………………. Thanks for the kind thought, Tony, but Dawn is too important to our organization (Public Outreach Director) so, I’ll THINK my thoughts!!!
Later met Rob Lessard, his cousin Jenn Cropper and her son, Charles.
NOVEMBER 8: This was a rain day. It stormed pretty badly so, it wasn’t safe to walk. These rain days gives me a chance to catch up on domestic chores and DDF business.
NOVEMBER 9: DDF Business occupied most of the day, but the weather was a sunny 70°’s and wanted to take advantage of it. It was a short 5.5 miles day. Shirley walked, also.
Thank you Judy Walmer for your generous contribution. A reminder to everyone that all donations received directly by DDF go 100% to DDF (less any processing fees, usually 3%).
And, at the close of the day, we had a fun visit with Eric Watson (driver) and his work partner Paul McKenna.
Another stellar day. The temperature was in the high 70°’s and the walking conditions were good. AND walked out of Delaware and into Maryland.
Delaware is the 28th perimeter State I’ve walked through. I only count a state after I’ve walked through it.
November 11: Veterans Day I walked and talked further into Maryland. Shirley walked, too. I continue to meet wonderful people, like Angel Funk of Elkton. And I want to thank Sam Collins of Greater Winston-Salem, NC for his generous donation. Sam was selling quality Army gear along with other marketers along the roadway.
NOVEMBER 12: Another stormy day. So, once again, I find myself at the computer. And, actually, it’s a Sunday. Sunday is becoming a regular day off from walking. Russ, Shirley and I agree that if need be, we will go out and log miles. But……………..
NOVEMBER 13: This was a moving day. Russ found us a campground just 28 miles east of Baltimore (in Abingdon, MD) and close to RTE 40 (my walking route into Baltimore). More times than not it has rained on moving day. And it rained today.
NOVEMBER 14: WORLD DIABETES DAY!!! This is a special day in a special month. November, of course, is National Diabetes Month (if you didn’t know it before, you do now).
On this day I had the honor of meeting, one-on-one,with one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of diabetes, Christopher D. Saudek, MD. Among the many credits he enjoys from a lifetime of truly amazing accomplishments in his chosen field, Dr. Saudek is Director of the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center. Over lunch we discussed the adventure/journey I’m on (The MR DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR) and the tremendously positive impact it’s having in the battle against diabetes. And we discussed some of the advances he’s involved with, on the scientific level, which will translate into positive benefit for the diabetes community, at large. One thing we are in complete agreement on is that a cure for this insidious disease is not in sight. So once again, I remind you all:
AWARENESS + ACTION = PREVENTION®
Christopher D. Saudek, M.D.
and Mr. Diabetes®
Special thanks to his assistant, John Reusing for working with our Public Outreach Director, Dawn Swidorski, for arranging this meeting. And she didn’t stop there…….
Through the courtesy of John Reusing, I was able to do a radio interview with Frankie Boyer on her syndicated Frankie Boyer Show. John helped me out by making room for me in his office and using his land-line; my cell phone wouldn’t do for this important interview. Frankie is a wonderfully gracious Host and a VERY fun interviewer. Thanks for making me feel so at home, Frankie.
And, for company in John’s office was Dr. Keith Moore. (I assume he’s a doctor because he had a stethoscope around his neck.) We enjoyed great and informative conversation before and after the phone-in radio interview. Actually, the office got a little more crowded, as Dr. Saudek came in a couple of times conducting regular medical business. One of us had to leave to make room – it was me………..
[AN ASIDE: . I interviewed with Frankie last year around this
time when I was in New York participating in The New York
City Marathon. You may remember I was there being sponsored by
The Achilles Track Club and assisted by Ellen (Brohard) Gallagher.
Well, as an update on Ellen, she thought, along with husband Thomas,
that it was time to start a family. But, in typical fashion of never doing
anything in a small way, Thomas and Ellen decided to shortcut the route
to a large family – they’re having TRIPLETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ]
And, as a bonus to an already brilliant day, I was further honored by being proclaimed an Honorary Citizen by Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley. (Dawn does keep me busy!!!) And congratulations are in order to Mayor O’Malley who, as a result of the November 7 elections, is now Maryland Governor Elect Martin O’Malley. ALL of us citizens of Maryland wish you every success in your new and demanding position, sir.
NOVEMBER 15: Well, THE WALK™ must go on……. So, we were back at it, today. The weather is cooperating, as it was a warm and sunny day – (60°’s). Shirley walked with me today. Shirley is the same Shirley who’s column you are reading each month in our DDF newsletter, E-Lerts™. It’s called Shirley’s Garden. Check it out, if you haven’t already.