MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
UPDATE - October, 2007
LOCATION: Augusta, Georgia
TOTAL MILES: 8756.2
What a month it has been!! WOW!!!!!!!
I am just coming back from an unanticipated trip to Boston, MA. Well, actually, to the suburbs of Boston. It was all because of MADDCAP™ (Martial Arts Defeat Diabetes® Community Action Project) and the UBBT (Ultimate Black Belt Test). I have been describing these activities in my last two UPDATES (August and September). So, to learn more about them, go to the UPDATE Archives or go to any page on the DDF website: www.DefeatDiabetes.org
and click on the flashing blue icon with the stick-figure doing a karate side kick (it’s on the right rail).
Anyway, my purpose was to get back into the dojo and get some very personal and targeted instruction from my longtime friend and martial arts teacher, Master Paul Alagna. The physical aspects and training had gotten away from me during the past years because of the serious bout I had with diabetes and then The MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR that followed my recovery. The mental aspects and disciplines have never left me, but I need(ed) lots of help recapturing some of the old techniques and learning a few new disciplines that are required of the UBBT. So, my teachers had their hands full for a couple of weeks.
They are: Master Paul Alagna, Owner and Chief Instructor of his United Shaolin Kempo dojo at 422 Moody Street, Waltham, MA. Paul worked with me at all kinds of odd hours with my martial arts. (And special thanks to Paul’s beautiful wife, Maya, for her patience with Paul. I couldn’t have done what I did without him and he couldn’t have done it without her okay. They are a great team.) He had his hands full because a lot of the work involved dealing with my “balance”, as a result of diabetes nerve damage, and “injured knees” because of previous knee injuries.
George Carson worked with me on several other fighting arts for which he is well qualified to teach. George is a former World Lightweight Champion in the UFC. You may remember the octagon cages when two combatants entered the cage and only one walked out!! Those were the early days of No Holds Barred competition where there was continuous fighting (no rounds) and the only illegal strikes were: Eye gouging, biting and fish hooking (too gruesome to describe). So, George worked with me on boxing, grappling/wrestling, trapping, escrima sticks (Philipino weapons system) and a few choice “other” things.
And, I even attended a special monthly Black Belt class at Paul’s dojo taught by Grandmaster Cal Carozzi. I am fortunate to have access to this level of talent. Two (plus) weeks of some very intense training. Good thing I filmed it all because it is all very technical and precise. And, it was lots of fun, which ended all too soon.
I also managed to see a few friends during the in-between times. I’m sorry to say not all of those I wanted to visit, but they are friends and understood my time constraints. But, I want to mention those I did visit:
At Nowell Bloomenthal’s home I had dinner with Nowell, wife Debby, Alan Zaplin and his wife Hope. Nowell, Alan and I go back to 1958. Hope entered the scene in 1963 and Debby was a late comer in the mid 1980’s . Also, there, was Molly, Nowell and Debby’s daughter. Nowell, Debby and Molly were in San Diego, CA to share the moment when I crossed the U.S. for the first time in October, 2002. I expect they’ll be at the finish line, too, in December, 2008. And Alan & Hope, too. Incidentally, Nowell is on our Board of Directors and we’re fortunate to have him.
Another long overdue visit was with my dear friends Betsy Dangel and her son, Alex. I had dinner with them, too, in their home. We had opposing schedules when I walked through Boston in the summer of 2006, so we only talked then. This was much better!! I hadn’t seen them for about nine years. I’ve been preparing for THE WALK™ and then on THE WALK™ since 1998. Betsy, you haven’t aged a day, you look great. And Alex, you were just an infant when I saw you last, but have grown to be a remarkable young man, with your Dad’s sense of humor and interest in music. We lost Jerry (Dangel) in 1998. He was truly a most remarkable man and my dearest friend. There isn’t hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think about Jerry and something I can relate to our long friendship. I know there are many who remember Jerry in much the same way. Well, Alex, my “Little Buddy” is a chip off the old block. Of course, Betsy might have something to do with it, too - ya think??
Then, there was a 30 minute visit with my longtime friend Myron Cummins, who owns Cummins Wardrobe Service in Newton’s Waban Square. This has been his family business for 104 years. Now that’s a run!!
And, of course, no visit to the Boston area is complete without a visit with Steve Leone. Steve and I go back over 35 years. Steve is on our Board of Directors, too.
And, finally, but by no means insignificant, was a visit with my dear friend Bill O’Mahoney. I can quite comfortably say that I don’t know anyone quite like Billy. I met Billy in 1975 when I was tending bar in Brookline, MA and he was running a collection agency. We became fast friends and shared many good times together. I was at his home many, many times and shared so much with his family: wife Angela (now departed) always welcomed me with a huge smile, open arms and a plateful of food, daughters Maureen and Marie who were/are absolute sweethearts and Billy, Jr. who is a lot like Dad, a perfect mix of respectful and nice, but with a tiger inside if anyone should try to compromise his principles. He comes by it honestly as his Dad, Bill, Sr., is a Marine veteran of the Viet Nam War and was a Drill Sargeant, too. But, most importantly, he was always a great family man who always had/has the love and respect of his family.
I got to visit with Maureen and Marie and their families – these little girls have grown up. Maureen’s eldest daughter is Angela and Maureen & husband Richie have their infant Amber. They live upstairs from Bill, maybe that’s why I didn’t hear a single cry the entire time I was there. And Marie lives just a few minutes away. So, we visited there, too. Marie’s two daughters, Stephanie and Ashley came out for pictures, but I only got to wave at husband Paul. Billy, Jr. was no where to be found. Next time.
And I had a nice conversation with my super Aunt Harriet (Mandell).
Well, that was my visit up north. Tour Managers, Russ and Shirley Barriger, headed home to their farm in Michigan. They surprised family and friends because this was unexpected. They managed to bring in a crop of soy and plant a crop of Svelt during this time. Also, Russ cut up a ton or two of steel for the steel mill and Shirley did all those things farmers wives do – a bit of EVERYTHING!!!
But, now we’re back to the business of walking. We moved from our campground in Lexington, SC to one in Augusta, Georga. Yep, that means that our first walk upon returning brought us across the Georgia state line. That’s a landmark for THE WALK™ because I have now walked in ALL of the 34 perimeter states of the continental U.S. However, not to confuse things, I have walked THROUGH 32 states. I still have to walk through Georgia and Florida to complete THE WALK™; that’s another 1550 miles. But, at least it won’t be in winter!! Although, we will be experiencing a Florida summer. That’s no picnic!!! But, we’ll endure.
Now, to repeat announcements I made last month (we are within days of launching)…………………………………. Look for the official announcements on the DDF website Home Page and in our E-Lerts™ newsletter.
Coming on board later this month (November, 2007) is a new service that will alleviate a great amount of confusion that exists in the world of those providing help to family and friends as “care givers”. It will bring together the various lines of communications absolutely necessary to insure the best possible treatment for our loved ones. NO MORE missed appointments. NO MORE missed scheduled medications. NO MORE one healthcare professional not knowing what another healthcare professional is doing. This program has been in development by top professionals for more than one year and is currently undergoing its final testing(s) to insure both its completeness and effectiveness.
And, MADDCAP™ (Martial Arts Defeat Diabetes® Community Action Project) is about to launch. Dawn Swidorski, our Public Outreach Director, has been going over the multitude of details that make up this innovative, revolutionary really, program in preparation of the national announcement coming any day. For a more detailed description go to the “flashing” blue icon on the right rail of all 2000+ pages of the DDF website and click on the stick-figure doing the karate side kick. If you would like to participate, write to: mrdiabetes@DefeatDiabetes.org
or Dawn Swidorski: dswidorski@DefeatDiabetes.org
and put MADDCAP in the subject line.
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