Hartselle's first diabetes walk planned for Oct. 4
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Exercise and health education are part of many activities the Hartselle Diabetic Support Group has planned for its first America's Walk for Diabetes.
The Walk-A-Thon will be held Saturday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m. with registration 8:30-9:45 a.m. at Sparkman Park, Pavilion 4.
Walkers will make the 7/10 of 1-mile loop around the park once to raise pledge funds to benefit the American Diabetes Association for diabetes research, education, local programs and services.
"Our goal for this first year is to raise a little money and a lot of awareness about diabetes," Hartselle Diabetic Support Group leader and Hartselle Medical Center registered nurse Marcie Bullard said. "We encourage everyone to bring their families and walk for this great cause."
Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the nation and may lead to other serious health conditions such as heart disease, silent heart attacks, liver disease and/or failure, kidney disease and/or failure, blindness, loss of feet and legs, and numbness in the extremities.
According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 17 million Americans have diabetes and another 16 million have pre-diabetes. The disease killed 200,000 people last year, more than AIDS and breast cancer combined.
"That's why your support is so important," American Diabetes Association Area Manager Debbie Lauderdale said. "Funds raised through America's Walk for Diabetes will help in the search for a cure and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes."
Walkers can obtain pledge packets for the walk at Hartselle Medical Center. Area business are also being encouraged to sponsor an employee walker and ask customers to "Be a Star in the fight against diabetes!" Sponsors would receive a personalized donation star to be displayed at participating businesses.
"Volunteers and supplies are also needed for the event," Bullard said. "Any donation of time by volunteering or paper, food or beverage products would be very much appreciated."
Live entertainment, exhibits, concessions, games and much more are also being planned following the event until 2 p.m.
All donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact Bullard at 773-9756 or Kathy White Goodwin at 751-3000, ext. 100.
Donna Townson, Hartselle Diabetic Support Group member, knows firsthand just how beneficial diabetes research and education can be.
Townson, 39, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at age 12. Her niece received the same diagnosis at age 8 and died from a massive stroke resulting from the diabetes before she ever received treatment.
Townson has endured many eye surgeries as a result of the disease and now faces dialysis and a double organ transplant of the pancreas and kidney.
"I'm nervous, but anxious," Townson said. "I've taken shots since I was 12. This (transplant) means no more shots, no more diabetes.
Bullard said Townson's case is not rare.
"I see people come into the hospital every day with sight problems, lost limbs and multiple health complications from diabetes," Bullard said. "With exercise and weight control, diabetes, like most heart problems, is preventable. Diabetes education is one of the most important things we can share with our family, friends and community. That's why I've been teaching classes like this since 1975."
The Hartselle Diabetic Support Group meets the second Thursday of each month at the Pleasant Place building, next to Evan's Florist, at 10 a.m.
Everyone with diabetes, or those who have family and friends with diabetes, are encouraged to attend.