MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
UPDATE : April, 2008
LOCATION: St. Augustine, Florida
TOTAL MILES: 9333.8
Notice that I didn’t log many miles during April; I knew back in October, 2007 that it would be a “low mileage” month. The reason is that I had long ranging plans to join my Ultimate Black Belt Test teammates for a very special event which occurs every year, during April, in Greensboro, Alabama. I’ll get into this shortly, but I first want to address other activities of THE WALK™.
First, I want to report the results of my biopsy. Last month I told you about my concern for a mole on my chest that had suddenly changed shape, size, dimension, color and texture. Dermatologist Dr. Anthony Depreta of Brunswick, GA, reported back that the biopsy proved to be negative. Of course, I’m relieved at this good news; and I hope this will serve as a note of caution to everyone that it’s better to have these situations checked out early. It isn’t always bad news. But, if it is, these issues usually have a positive result when discovered early. A word to the wise……………………
I am now walking in Florida, the 34th and final state to walk through. I only have 1000 miles to walk to the finish in Madeira Beach (on the Gulf of Mexico near St Petersburg). The temptation to look back at the 9300+ miles I’ve already walked is growing, but I know it’s too soon to be doing that. Fortunately, I have been organizing and compartmentalizing many aspects of THE WALK™ as they occur. Of course, I’ve had immeasurable help from our DDF core group all along. For example, Tour Manager Shirley Barriger, amongst a number of other responsibilities, handles the huge challenge of converting camcorder film to DVD in order to preserve the documented activities of THE WALK™. The past seven years are available for viewing at our offices in Madeira Beach. To arrange for an appointment to view: www.DefeatDiabetes.org
Then, click on the Tab: “CONTACT US
”. OR, e-mail me and I will co-ordinate a time for you: MrDiabetes@DefeatDiabetes.org
Meanwhile, media coverage continues to be great. And national media seems to be paying attention more and more. That’s a good thing.
Preparation for my trip to Greensboro, Alabama included suspending THE WALK™ for 2-3 weeks. That means lots of phone calls to let people know what’s happening and to adjust their schedules accordingly. Packing the SUV took a couple of days; most people would just walk out the door and go. But me, well, I take along lots of “stuff” so that if I have a few extra minutes I’ll have a variety of work to choose from to do. In this case I had a lot of “work” to choose from, but not a minute to even look at any of it!!!
: On my drive back I hit a deer. This is the second time I've hit a deer in the past 16 months. The only time before that was in 1964. Needless to say, it's serious business when that happens. This time it was not as severe as the last time (January, 2007).
Fortunately, the only injuries were to the deer(s) on these last 2 encounters. Property damage, however, is extensive. The last time the SUV was almost totalled. I'm hoping this time it won't reach that level. The 1964 encounter was critically serious - personal injuries, car flipping and ending upside down, and more............ So, I absolutely know how lucky I am these last 2 times.]
I arrived in Greensboro, AL on April 15, settled in a Days Inn in nearby Demopolis. Life was about to change…………………
The next day I was up early and on my way to meet face-to-face for the first time, Master Teacher Tom Callos. Tom is the founder of the national/worldwide group of martial artists extraordinaire known as “THE 100” and the well publicized “Ultimate Black Belt Test” (UBBT) of which I am a proud member of Team 5.
Tom’s concept behind what has become a movement in the martial arts world is to take the disciplines and training of the martial arts “out of the dojo and into
the world”. The idea is to provide assistance to people and causes that are doing positive things to advance our society(ies). In short, doing the right thing(s) for the right reason(s). It is bold, new and innovative. It has captured the imagination of martial artists around the world and is growing, growing, growing!!!
Back to Tom: Meeting Tom was long anticipated by me. We had met over the phone after one of his “THE 100” members, Jason Gould, owner and Chief Instructor of the Emerald Necklace Martial Arts in Allston, MA had introduced us. Jason had read about me and THE WALK™ in The Boston Globe when I was walking through Boston in the summer of 2006 and told Tom about me. After we talked and realized we were each walking a similar path of purpose, we decided to merge efforts and build a program of diabetes education, which we would then deliver to world through his nationally organized martial arts dojos. (More on this below.)
His membership consists of hundreds of martial artists – all Black Belts and many of them are Masters representing the many varieties of styles that make up the martial arts: Kung Fu, Karate, JuJitsu, Judo, Aikido, Tae Kwondo, Boxing, Wrestling, and more………….. Also included are Masters of the typical, and not so typical, martial arts weapons. Tom knows each and every member, personally, and has a compelling, fun and interesting story on how he met each one. The mutual respect held for each other speaks volumes on the personality, wisdom and talent of this man. Additionally, he works with them all to help improve their enrollments and images in their respective communities and to regularly share ideas to improve the martial arts, in general.
So, this is the makeup of the 50+ members who showed up in Greensboro, AL to perpetuate what has become an annual tradition – help Director Pam Dorr and her group of administrators, volunteers and local youth build affordable housing for local families in need. Pam’s group is a non-profit organization known as H.E.R.O. This was Tom’s 5th year, my first. Tom’s group, in four days, saves over 6 months of work in the construction of a home and other related projects (people are assigned to various housing projects).
While there, I helped some in the construction of a home, but it’s a good thing there were others who actually had construction and carpentry skills.
Almost everybody camped in the gymnasium of the local Baptist Church. When morning came, and morning comes early – 6AM – Tom would begin a morning workout for 1-1 ½ hours. These workouts consisted of the typical calisthenics, martial arts drills consisting of punches and kicks and sparring. After that it was to the work site(s) at 8AM.
One day, at one of the work sites (the one having the most workers – 30+) I set up shop and “field tested” for diabetes those interested – everybody was. As it turned out I was able to determine a few who were “suspicious” and recommended they take the next step, the definitive A1C test.
Another day, I had the opportunity to speak with a group of 17 of Greensboro’s local teenagers about THE WALK™ and diabetes. That was lots of fun.
The evenings, during and/or after dinner, was “showtime”!! During these times the Team members did demonstrations. Here I witness some of the most beautiful exhibitions of martial arts katas (forms) and weapons forms I’ve ever seen – I’ve been involved in the martial arts since 1985. Also, precision kicking, sparring and some “show boating”.
Now, I’d like to take a step back and talk about the result(s) of my initial phone meeting with Tom. We had agreed we were “walking” a similar path to help the world and decided to merge our efforts into a mutual project. Well, the next step was to bring in Defeat Diabetes Public Outreach Director, Dawn Swidorski. Dawn proceeded to develop a comprehensive series of Lesson Plans which explain and teach students about diabetes, nutrition and fitness. These lessons will be taught in dojos and, then, in conjunction with parents, teachers, councilors, elected officials, community business leaders and the media they will be brought into communities. So, 1 ½ years later, the program known as MARTIAL ARTS DEFEAT DIABETES® COMMUNITY ACTION PROJECT – MADDCAP™ for short, has been launched. Greensboro, Alabama was the launch site.
I introduced MADDCAP™ after dinner and a demonstration for the community, at a UBBT Team meeting. Here, I explained the concept and how it came about, what it consists of, the benefits it will have to each and every community and how it will build their credibility and impact their community, and as an added benefit, it will help to increase their enrollments. And, of course, this comprehensive program is FREE!!!!
I am pleased to say, that a number of dojos have already signed up and the program is under way.
If you would like to learn more about MADDCAP™ and how you can get involved, as a student (we can direct you to a dojo near you) or as a dojo (martial arts studio) owner/instructor, you can contact: Dawn Swidorski at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(For more information on Tom Callos and the UBBT go to any page on the DDF website: www.DefeatDiabetes.org click on the flashing blue icon with the “stick figure” doing a karate side kick - on the side rail).
NEXT: I know you are wondering what my Tour Managers, Russ & Shirley Barriger, were up to while I was gone. Well, wonder no longer……
Russ took on a project for me in the RV that desperately needed repair. The interior floor had literally fallen apart. Due to unseen improper drainage from the refrigerator during the defrosting process, water was not being drained through the proper hose and had been draining under the floorboards. The entire floor needed to be replaced. This had been going on for some time. I had this problem fixed in January, 2006 – or so I thought. WRONG!!!!!
Anyway, Russ, who had never before done this particular kind of construction work felt comfortable in tackling this job. And, me, knowing how Russ works his many other projects, had complete faith in his ability to do it, and this time to do it right. Well, the end result is a brand new floor built better than when The RV came out of the factory. It is solid and looks like brand new!!!!! Actually, it IS brand new. And Shirley was his able assistant on the job.
Shirley, of course, continued working on transferring camcorder and film to DVD’s on the unending quest to trying to stay even with documenting all aspects of THE WALK™.
This UPDATE focused on MADDCAP™. But, don’t ignore our other valuable programs: E-Lerts™ newsletter; Defeat Diabetes® News Service; DefeatDiabetes® CareGiverHelper; Acsia Insurance; B-CLEAR energy drink; eBay seller site; and several others, which can be found on the side rails of our over 3000 pages on this website. And, we will soon be adding other products & services helpful to diabetics and those interested in achieving and/or maintaining their good health.
If you are interested in a sponsorship and/or advertising on our website: www.DefeatDiabetes.org and click on Products & Services to learn our policy(ies).
And, now that I have effectively walked the perimeter of the United States (I’m now walking in the 34th and final state – 9300+ miles), you must realize how serious I am about “defeating diabetes®”. A lot has been accomplished and a lot more has been learned about the REAL state of affairs of diabetes and how it dramatically affects each and every one of us. Defeat Diabetes Foundation is uniquely positioned to take this information and actually impact diabetes in new and innovative ways. We NEED your continuing support in order to keep this momentum going. So, please dig deep and make your next tax deductible donation to: Defeat Diabetes Foundation.
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!!!!
To reach me personally with your questions and comments: