MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
UPDATE : March, 2008
LOCATION: Georgia/Florida State Line – Nassau County
TOTAL MILES: 9282.8
This month of March, 2008 has been significant in several ways. Firstly, it is the end of Winter and Spring has sprung. What that means to me, given the location I have now reached, is that I don’t EVER expect to step in snow for the rest of my life! I never enjoyed it when I lived in the Boston, MA area and I didn’t enjoy it as I had to experience it on THE WALK™. [After all, I don’t skate, ski or toboggan. My ONLY winter activity was shoveling snow. So, what’s to enjoy about winter?!!??!]
While on THE WALK™ I had to break three times because of winter and snow: 1) was in The Rockies on the Idaho/Montana state line (St. Regis, MT); 2) was on the Wisconsin/Illinois state line (Zion, IL); and 3) Seneca Falls, New York – spent that winter in Buffalo. Winter comes early in these areas (October/November) and stays late. In Montana, for example, there were occasional light snow flurries into July. Otherwise late April or early May marked the end of winter. That said, cold temperatures lingered quite late into the Spring season.
Secondly, I have now completed walking through 33 of the 34 perimeter states of the Continental 48 states, and I have already walked significant mileage in Florida (the 34th state). Clearly, I still have 1000+ miles to walk to complete the full “circle”, but, psychologically, this is a significant milestone.
Thirdly, I am now able to “dare” to reflect on the various aspects of THE WALK™ that began with its first steps on December 1, 2000 (the “Trial Walk” – 450 miles through Florida from Madeira Beach to E.Milton [Pensacola]) – over seven years ago! It is necessary that I take time to reflect because the extraordinary outreach that has taken place during this
time has been fully documented and needs to be tightly organized. Much has already been done, in this regard, but a ribbon still has to be put around it. And, of course, there still remains 1000+ miles of Florida yet to go.
In the meantime, for those interested, a viewing room has been set up at Defeat Diabetes Foundation Headquarters and is operational. There you will find several hundreds of hours on DVD on all aspects of THE WALK™ from before the first steps through 2007. There are recordings of talks, TV interviews, several scrap books of newspaper interviews, in chronological order, and over 100 Proclamations (from Governors, Mayors, City Councils, and more…..) line the walls. None of this happened by itself. It was the result of very hard work by many, many people: most notably: Jerry Mandell, COO; Lisa Rasolt, Programs Director; Dawn Swidorski, Public Outreach Director; Russ & Shirley Barriger, Tour Managers. Shirley has worked very hard organizing the DVD history of THE WALK™. Others who have contributed greatly to THE WALK™, and my personal safety, will be acknowledged in future UPDATES.
Now, back to the reality of my current walking:
March was cold and stormy during the first half of the month; the second half was great, both weather-wise and scenery-wise. Savannah, GA is a true example of Southern gentility. It is beautifully historic and the people couldn’t be nicer. Got a lot of great Press here, too.
Walking south from Savannah I went through a number of lesser known cities, but historic in their own right(s): Richmond Hills, Midway, Riceboro, So. Newport, Eulonia (being built up to be the next Hilton Head), Darien, Brunswick, Waverly, White Oak, Woodbine and Kingsland.
The walking conditions remain hazardous – US 17. There are only 2 lanes (rarely 3 lanes), no walkable shoulders (only ankle high grass and swamp), and heavy truck traffic along with the regular traffic. What is making things worse is that the 30-40 miles between Richmond Hills and Brunswick the nearby Rte. I-95 is a construction nightmare. So, much of that regular traffic is using Rte. US 17. And to make matters even worse is that this is the season snakes, alligators and wild hogs show up.
Russ and Shirley went to the annual Rattle Snake Roundup in Claxton, GA. They came back with interesting stories and warnings. Following that, we went to a major sporting goods and supply “mega” store for me to get special “snake proof boots and spats”. The good news is that there is a wide selection of this protective foot wear. The bad news was that they don’t make this particular shoe in my size – 14 double wide. So, I must be very cautious. I managed to get through a number of other regions equally dangerous and populated with these varieties of wildlife. But, I thought it a good idea to check it out, anyway.
That said, I hope to meet with Captain Stan from Woodbine on April 1. He conducts tours through the Georgia swamps to “visit” with snakes, alligators and wild hogs. I hope to learn all I need to know to survive any run-ins. After all, I will be walking through deep grass and swampland all the way to the Florida Keys and, then, across Alligator Alley (there’s a reason it is called “Alligator Alley”) on my way back from the east coast of Florida to the Gulf Coast, where I’ll be winding up THE WALK™ in Madeira Beach – where it all began at Defeat Diabetes Foundation Headquarters.
NEXT: In this past month I have had the pleasure of meeting four TRUE adventurers.
The first was Kevin Knieling – Adventure Traveler. Kevin is riding his bicycle from California to New Smirna Beach, FL (already completed) and from there to Maine. After that he plans to walk the entire Appalachian Trail and he will follow that with a kyak trip from Winnebago Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Kevin made his mark on Wall Street and retired at a young age. I didn’t ask him his age but I guess it to be mid thirties.
My second meeting was with a local Darien man. He was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 58 in 1988. He was told to change his life by adding exercise and a proper diet. Now, at 78 years young (and you would NEVER guess him to be 78) he has completed 100,000 miles on his bicycle. He rides 20 miles per day, 5 days per week. He has done this for 20 years.
My third meeting was with a fellow walker, Lyn Hanush, from Paso Robles, CA. (Lyn remembered reading about me in the local Paso Robles newspaper when I walked through there in 2003.) She is the first national long distance endurance walker I have met in all the years I have been out here. (I have met one cross country runner and a regional walker.) She has walked from Tiajuanna, Mexico to Blaine, Washington (Canada border). Then, she walked from Blaine, WA diagonally across the U.S. to Key West, FL. I met her while she is walking from Key West, FL to Maine before she plans to walk diagonally across the U.S. to Tiajuanna, Mexico. I didn’t ask her age, but she has children in their 40’s. You do the math, but she is quite fit!! Her friend Lil travels with her and husband Dave (a diabetic) provides moral support, route assistance and more from home. It takes a team to keep a walker walking.
And my fourth meeting was with a 70 year old man, Hans Frischeisen, from Reno, Nevada. Hans is now on his third time bicycling around the world. He is, by profession, an herbalist/holistic healer.
I spent time with each of these wonderful adventurers and filmed it all!
And, finally, let me offer everyone a word of caution about their health. I noticed a mole that has been on my chest since birth had changed its shape, color and texture. So, as a precaution, I had a biopsy taken. I am camped at The Golden Isle Campground in Brunswick, GA. Brunswick is a fairly large southern city and here I was lucky to find a dermatologist who is very knowledgeable. I didn’t know what to expect going in, as I never had such a procedure performed. Well, it was interesting, brief and the removal of the mole being biopsied was absolutely painless. I haven’t gotten the results, yet, but his exam of the rest of me showed no other suspicious growths. So, color me hopeful as to the lab results. If you find yourself in the Brunswick, GA area and need a dermatologist, I suggest you make an appointment with Edward A. DiPreta, MD. He’s located at 3008 East Park Avenue in Brunswick, GA 31520. (912).265.2142. Tell him MR. DIABETES® sent you.
During April I am suspending THE WALK™ for 2 weeks to join Master Teacher Tom Callos and my fellow Ultimate Black Belt Test team members in Greensboro, Alabama. Tom, and his group, have an annual event there to build a home for a deserving family in need. They do this every year; in 4 days a beautiful new home is built. This is my first time attending this fantastic event. I will give you a report next month.
Okay, that’s it for this UPDATE. We are into the New Year and we continue to build on all the wonderful accomplishments of 2007 and the years leading up to now. For those of you (44 million) in the position of “caregiver” do yourselves a favor and check out our Defeat Diabetes® CareGiverHelper program. It’s located on every one of our approximately 3000 pages of our website: www.DefeatDiabetes.org
It was in development for 1½ years and it works beautifully!!! And it’s FREE!!!!!!
DDF will be listing clothes, jewelry and all sorts of items.
Our seller name is defeat_diabetes.
All proceeds go directly to DDF minus lower selling fees. Bid High!
Your win will make you feel even better knowing the money went for a good cause. Click here to see what's listed now!
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Also, when at the website, I urge you to make a donation to help us to continue to help you. Even if I haven’t asked you personally, we need your help to get some other worthwhile programs launched, as well as keeping other programs ongoing, like our KIDD™ Project, MADDCAP™ Project, THE WALK™, the DDF website - which is an incredible diabetes
information resource second to none, and others.
If you are diabetic, or know someone who is, I guarantee you all are benefitting from what Defeat Diabetes Foundation is doing in the areas of early identification and prevention. That is where this fight will be won. If you are holding out and waiting for a cure – FORGET IT!!!! IT IS NOT COMING FOR 20-30 YEARS, if THEN!!!!!! We know how to prevent Type 2 diabetes up to 95% of the time.
1 in every 3 children born after the year 2000 is expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime!!! That is SCARY!!! 54 million Americans are already pre-diabetic and means they will get diabetes in the next 10-15 years UNLESS……………… YES, we can prevent it in up to 95% of ALL those cases. But, it takes support from YOU to do it. The government isn’t doing it, the pharmaceutical companies aren’t doing it, other diabetes organizations aren’t doing it. Defeat Diabetes Foundation IS doing it.
But, we need YOUR HELP to broaden the programs that will get it done. Get involved with DDF. PLEASE HELP!!!! When you designate a program for your support 100% of that donation (less bank processing fees if you use a Major Credit Card) will go to that program. Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, which allows for your donation to be tax deductible. Donate to Defeat Diabetes Foundation with our GroundSpring.com secure online donation form. You may donate to any of our programs with either VISA, MASTER CARD or AMERICAN EXPRESS.
Remember, What’s worse than finding out you have diabetes? …….. NOT finding out!!!!
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