MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
LOCATION: Rock Hill, South Carolina TOTAL MILES: 8600.3
UPDATE: June, 2007
June, in both North and South Carolina(s), has shown a weather pattern that I remember from growing up in Boston, MA.; that being the transition from Spring to Summer has been gradual and quite pleasant. In past years (more recently), as memory serves me, the Winter seasons were extra long, there was no Spring season (or, hardly any) and Summer came on fast and VERY hot. And, I say this with having experienced the seasonal changes in various parts of the United States. So, because this is only my first Spring/Summer season in The Carolinas, I can’t speak to this being the way it is every year, but from what I’m told, it is typical. That’s a great thing! Although, cool and comfortable summer mornings become VERY hot early-mid afternoons. Here, I’m talking about temperatures well into the 90’s and, even, reaching 100 degrees at times. And, it’s only June! That’s okay, though, because there are lots of opportunities to walk under shade trees or duck into air-conditioned buildings.
Then, add the wonderful ‘southern hospitality’ characteristic(s) of The Carolinas to the great weather, and you have a fantastic place to visit – or, maybe, move to.
Walking in the heat of the day isn’t practical. Although, I did walk very long hours in the earlier years of THE WALK™ - days that would begin in the cool of the morning and rise to the air temperature of 110-115 degrees and the ground temperature reaching 120-130 degrees in the afternoon (the Southwest in Summer, 2002). There was no way to avoid that heat if I was ever to cover distance. The Carolinas allow for a much more palatable approach to the heat of Summer.
Here, we wake up between 4am and 5:30am. It takes an hour to get ready and be out the door. We will arrive at the walk-start point (the same point we stopped at the previous walk) and begin walking at 7am – 8am. Then, we’ll be out till 2pm, or so. Of course, interviews, appearances and the number of people I meet along the way will affect the times and progress.
And the “WE” are me and Tour Managers Russ & Shirley Barriger. The “WE” is quite appropriate, too. Sometimes it is a group effort to get something done; we joke about it, but only because it’s true. (We’re all seniors in our early sixties.) To begin, we take advantage of the fact that Russ & Shirley are lifelong farmers from Michigan. That means, to me anyway, they are used to being up with the roosters. And, me, I’m city born and raised. That means early morning comes hours later. So, Shirley wakes Russ and Russ wakes me with a phone call. It works!! Sometimes, more frequently than we like to admit, (but, really, not all THAT often) it takes the three of us to recall critical facts when trying to remember a single story/situation. Again, it works!! HHHMMMmmmmm…………………………The good news here, though, is we all take copious notes of practically everything that occurs on THE WALK™. Plus, we have several cameras going all the time. So, if all else fails, we can always reconstruct any ‘vague’ areas. The lesson here is that we know our limitations and compensate for them, as we go.
Before I get into some of the highlights of June’s activities, I want to thank those of you who responded so generously to my request for support of our valuable Programs. And, again, I remind you that 100% of donations made directly to Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF), whether by mail or via the website, go to DDF (less processing fees). If you designate a specific Program (there are many), your donation will go entirely to that Program. Just click on The TORCH located at the top of the right rail on each of our over 2000 pages of diabetes information. Remember, the conventional wisdom that has dominated the diabetes world for the past many decades has failed us all, MISERABLY ! DO NOT expect a cure for 20-30 years, at least. Prevention and early identification is the only reasonable way we can beat this insidious epidemic. This is the DDF approach, AND IT’s WORKING!!! Please help us help you. Remember:
AWARENESS + ACTION = PREVENTION®
June 26, 2007 - 9:00 - 10:00 am Interview WFAE-FM (90.7) – NPR – Host: Mike
June 26, 2007- 7:15am - Interview - WRHI - AM (1340) - The WRHI Morning
Show w/ Host: Jay Taylor.
June 23, 2007 – Article The Herald – Rock Hill, South Carolina
June 21, 2007 -- Article Charlotte Post – Charlotte, NC
June 18, 2007 - Interview WSOC-TV (ABC 9)
June 13, 2007- Interview with Independent Tribune - Kannapolis and
June 12, 2007 - Received Letter of Appreciation from Mayor Patrick L. McCrory –
June 12, 2007 - 11:30 am Meeting with Mayor J. Scott Padgett - Concord, NC
June 12, 2007 - 10:00 am Meeting with Mayor Robert Misenheimer –
June 11, 2007 - 10:30 am Meeting with Mayor Richard Thomas - Lexington, NC
June 8, 2007 - Article - Salisbury Post – Salisbury, North Carolina
June 7, 2007 - Interview with Mark Brown & Howard Platt on WSTP-AM (1490)
June 5, 2007 - 9:10 am - Interview w/ Bob Mahoney & Harold Bowen on WLXN-
June 4, 2007 - Article - The Dispatch – Lexington, North Carolina
MAY 28: Shirley & Russ celebrated their 41st anniversary. Five children and eight grandchildren are following their adventure of THE WALK™. They will need a ‘Family Fix’ pretty soon. They are all as close as any family could hope to be, but there’s nothing like a personal appearance. So, as of July 1, we decided that a 6 week visit to home in Michigan is appropriate and well earned.
JUNE 1: We moved to Fleetwood RV Racing & Campground Resort in Concord, NC. So, for anyone looking to find me, I will be camped here till mid August, at least. Concord is the adjacent city to Charlotte. While Russ & Shirley are away, Charlotte will give me my ‘city fix’. It’s the largest city in both Carolinas and it’s very modern and up-to date. I like this area very much.
Also, this campground is owned by one of the nation’s leading NASCAR racing tracks!! Big Speedway here. Russ, Shirley and Faith (daughter, here visiting) took the $5.00 tour, which included an exciting high-speed ride around the official racetrack.
JUNE 4: This day brought is into Lexington, NC. It was named a couple of hundred years ago after Lexington, MA in honor of the city where the first shot(s) of The American Revolution took place – “The shot heard ‘round the world.”
Lexington also is home of Lanier Hardware Store. This hardware store has been around for many generations. It covers an entire city block and has about everything you would ever need in hardware, plus plus.
Also, this city of just a few thousand people is home to an annual PIG festival, which brings in about 150,000 people to celebrate.
I interviewed with Donnie Roberts of The Dispatch, and a week later, June 11, I had a special meeting.with Mayor Richard Thomas.
JUNE 12: This day began with meeting Mayor Robert Misenheimer of Kannapolis, NC .
Kannapolis might best be known as the Hometown of legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. There are several tributes to “# 3” who died in a tragic racing accident, as he led the pack on the final lap of his last scheduled race of his long and glorious racing career in 2001.
My meeting with The Mayor was a most informative and commitment filled hour in his offices. He is no stranger to diabetes and the needs of diabetics and, as such, is already actively addressing those issues. He’s doing all the right things.
We traded information and he presented me with a Proclamation designating June 12 as ANDY MANDELL DAY in Kannapolis.
Now, looking to the future, Mayor Misenheimer is working closely with David H. Murdock, owner of Dole Pineapple Company, in the development of the public-private North Carolina Research Campus to advance science in the name of health. Murdock is investing more than $1 billion into this project, which will include research programs to impact diabetes. This facility is scheduled to open in late 2007 or 2008. Murdock is not currently in Kannapolis, but Mayor Misenheimer will try to arrange a meeting with the three of us if and when…………………..
Later this morning I met with Concord, NC Mayor J. Scott Padgett. Prior to his mayoral career he was Concord High School Principal for 30 years. He is well aware of diabetes issues and the importance of fighting this disease in the schools, in order to spare the next generation(s) the tragic consequences of unchecked diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC ) projects that 1 of 3 of all children born in 2000, and thereafter, will develop diabetes in their lifetime. That is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!! Working closely with our elected officials and other community leaders Defeat Diabetes Foundation and MR. DIABETES® are doing more than anyone else to address this!!!
Concord is one of the world’s auto racing capitals. All racing fans must include this city and this region in their touring plans. Lots of energy, here.
At this time Mayor Padgett presented me with a beautifully mounted and framed Certificate of Appreciation honoring our good works and attention to impacting diabetes.
And, to make this day even more memorable, I received a letter of welcome, congratulations and appreciation from Charlotte, NC Mayor Patrick L. McCrory. Mayor McCrory is the city’s longest mayor in that position in Charlotte’s long history (1700’s) and is seeking another term.
Charlotte is a beautiful city, which is upbeat and progressive while maintaining its distinctive southern gentility. It is the largest city in both the Carolinas and, as such, is home to the region’s great financial institutions and corporate interests. It has a population of approximately 800,000 people plus the population of the surrounding communities.
JUNE 13: FUN ANECTODE: This day began in Kannapolis with an interview with the Independent Tribune, which covers both Kannapolis and Concord, NC. Bridgett Baker is the photojournalist who conducted the “walking” interview. As we were crossing a secondary divided roadway, at a point that appeared to have enough of a break in the flow of traffic (regulated by traffic lights a couple of hundred yards from where we were crossing) the following incident began. A lone car driving in our direction came on us a bit sooner than I had calculated. The driver slowed some and we scooted across safely, but not before I exchanged “that look” with the driver. We were close enough for that!!
[Just before crossing I shared with Bridgett the dangers I face frequently, and daily, when dealing with various traffic flows and situations. I mentioned this spot because, although there was a crosswalk designation, we were crossing a major roadway and there weren’t traffic lights at that location, so the burden was on us, the pedestrians, to be extra careful.]
As Bridgett and I continued, now on sidewalk, a car pulled up beside us. This happens frequently because of our visibility, both as a walker and the support vehicle. In this instance Russ was right there with the support vehicle. The driver stopped, rolled down the passenger side window and identified himself as “that” driver – the one with whom I had just exchanged looks. This has not happened before on THE WALK™ in over 8500 miles walked. Usually, I’ll exchange “looks” and that’s the end of the story. But, then again, this is North Carolina!! Southern Hospitality….. I apologized for my part in the incident, which was forgotten by me, at that point. Clearly, it was my ‘bad’.
The driver was Dr. J.E. (Eric) Atkinson – Optometrist. He was very gracious, accepted my apology, parked his car and, for the next 15 minutes we had a most friendly and informative conversation. Bridgett Baker was taking photos and making notes all the while. Russ, too. It ended with an invitation for me to be a speaker at an upcoming Kannapolis Rotary Club meeting. I have spoken at a number of Rotary Clubs around the U.S. during THE WALK™. These folks are the leaders in their communities and, as such, make good things happen. That appearance is scheduled for July 24. Interestingly, Kannapolis’ Mayor Bob Misenheimer is an active member of this Rotary Club, so, we will meet again.
Bridgett’s article and picture appeared the next day – it was GREAT! And Dr. Atkinson shared the press time with me. I couldn’t be more delighted. And, in case you are in need of an optometrist, my first choice is: Dr. J.E. Atkinson – 608 Jackson Park Road – Kannapolis, NC 28083 – (704) 938-1135. If you are diabetic look him up. Remember, diabetes is the single leading cause of adult blindness – up to 24,000 new cases every year; it’s called “diabetic retinopathy”. Tell him MR. DIABETES® sent you.
I am always fascinated and pleased when a situation, such as this one described (above), turns out so positive for all involved.
JUNE 26: I value all media exposure, appearances and my daily 25-50 one-on-one meetings with people who share their diabetic experiences with me (yep, daily!!). Here is one such instance that I wish to share with you: The occasion was my appearance on WFAE-FM (90.7) NPR radio show with Host: Mike Collins. The show was approved by Producer Tim Ross and coordinated by ‘Researcher’ Erin Sutton.
I shared the scheduled hour with Dr. Edith Miller. Dr Miller is an endocrinologist and Director of the Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, NC since 1994. Her presence made for a well-balanced hour because she could address the medical aspects of diabetes from the position of a practicing physician specializing in diabetes. And even more specifically, her particular emphasis is Gestational Diabetes. Gestational diabetes is that form of diabetes affecting approximately 7% of pregnant women. She treats many thousands of women with this condition every year. I focused on nutrition & fitness and the general aspects of THE WALK™. This show will repeat many times during the next 60 days and can be accessed in WFAE’s archives: www.WFAE.org click on ‘Charlotte Talks’ then, browse the ‘archives’.
Pictured here are (L-R) MR. Diabetes(R), WFAE-FM (90.7) NPR HOST: Mike Collins, Dr. Edith Miller and MR. D with WFAE-FM 'researcher' Erin Sutton
The rest of June was walking and talking, as we typically do. I walked into South Carolina on June 20. For those of you keeping track, North Carolina was the 31st State I’ve walked through, not including Florida. I only count a State after I’ve crossed into the next State. Only South Carolina, Georgia and Florida remain. The projected distance yet to walk is only 1700+ miles. So, I’ve made an ‘executive decision’……
As of Sunday, July 1, we are taking 6 weeks to prepare for the final 1700+ miles. Russ & Shirley are going home to their farm in Michigan to spend some much deserved and quality time with their family and to catch up on some necessary chores around the farm. When they return in mid August they will be refreshed and ready for the final 12-18 months it will take to finish THE WALK™.
I will take this time to catch up with work that has piled up and desperately need(s) attention. I don’t want to face this final phase with the existing mountain of work I have to do. Also, I will be bringing the support vehicle in for some necessary repair work. At this point, this vehicle has driven 129,000 miles. And they have been extraordinarily ‘tough’ miles. This vehicle has been following behind me at speeds of
1-3 ½ mph on rough ground at the side of the road and in breakdown lanes most of the way. Also, the idling time on the engine has been extraordinary, as well. I have had issues with certain aspects of the vehicle but, clearly, it has certainly been a ‘mostly’ dependable workhorse. We’ll see how it all shakes out in the end – I still need to get another 25,000-30,000 miles out of it. It will typically drive 15 miles for every mile I walk. Plus, it will require an additional 800-1000 hours of idling time on the engine.
And please visit: www.DefeatDiabetes.org often during the next 30-90 days, as we will be announcing a number of new programs, products and services that will benefit all diabetics. Exciting times ahead…………………….
Lanier's Hardware Store is huge inside. Russ is pictured looking down only one of dozens of isles. Lexington, NC takes their Pigs quite seriously. This is only a small sampling of how pigs are featured here.
This first picture is just one side of an incredible $1 billion development by Dole Pineapple Company owner David H. Murdoch - North Carolina Research Campus. Next meet Kannapolis neighborhood walker John Prather. Then, meet EMS Field Training Officer for Cabarrus County and a runner and a diabetic - Bryant Kiser. People keep active in Kannapolis. And, finally, one of several tributes to legendary race car drive, Dale Earnhardt.
On June 2, walking thru Midway, NC, I met these girls raising money for their school's basketball team's uniforms. They were quite successful: Ashlyn C., Cara S., Peyton T., Allyson Y., Adrienne W., Pressley T., and Ashley P. I am the thorn amongst these beautiful roses.