PRNewswire/ -- In rural Milledgeville, Georgia, 62 year old insulin-dependent Andy Mandell -- Mr. Diabetes(R), completed mile 9,000 of his 10,000+ mile perimeter walk of the United States raising awareness about the disease that nearly took his life.
"I've hit milestones in San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC, but small communities have the same rate of diabetes, only fewer resources to manage it. We can beat this disease locally, but it isn't going to happen on a national level. Unchecked, diabetes, which costs the U.S. $225 billion annually, will bankrupt our healthcare system," said Mandell.
Top diabetes researchers agree that a cure is at least 20 years away. The key to stopping diabetes is awareness and prevention through personal responsibility and lifestyle changes. Losing 10 - 15 pounds can make all the difference. Cut out fast food, snack foods and soda. Add 5-9 servings of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains to your daily diet.
"Pursue a more active lifestyle, like walking. Begin with ten minutes a day and increase the time gradually. It's a great way for families to catch up and get healthier at the same time," says Mandell. "These simple steps can delay the onset of diabetes and will help minimize complications," Mandell concluded.
Before THE WALK(TM) began there wasn't nearly the focus about diabetes that exists today. Mandell believes his efforts have impacted diabetes. THE WALK(TM) has captured the imagination of the public and Mr. Diabetes(R) is living proof that diabetics are neither helpless nor hopeless.
About the Wake Up and Walk(R) Tour
Now in its 7th and final year, Mr. Diabetes(R) is the sole walker. You may have seen him walking state highways in his brightly colored safety vest and walking pole. He's walked through 33 states, crossed 100 major rivers, 4 time zones (twice!), and gone through 22 pairs of walking shoes. He has met one-on-one with over 60,000 individuals and received over 100 Proclamations by Senators, Congressmen, Governors and Mayors. Through appearances and meetings at hospitals, such as Loma Linda, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, schools, civic organizations, and the media he has reached over 65 million Americans. The Walk(R) continues through Florida before reaching the finish line in Madeira Beach, Florida in December of 2008.
For more information about diabetes, THE WALK(TM) and to make a tax-deductible donation: http://www.defeatdiabetes.org/