The 21st annual American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes fund-raising campaign kicked off with an informational Corporate Luncheon held on Wednesday, May 22nd at the Pirate’s House in downtown Savannah.
Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is a national fundraising effort of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) where participants are encouraged to raise funds and awareness over a five month period. This year, City of Savannah Fire Chief, Charles G. Middleton, stepped up to lead the 2013 Step Out Campaign efforts.
According to Chief Middleton, “I hope to use this opportunity as Chairman of the campaign to highlight the ubiquity and invisibility of this disease. We have strong, fit firefighters who are living with Diabetes.
You can’t tell by looking at these folks that they may have a serious, chronic disease. Even heroes can suffer from diabetes. Diabetes does not discriminate based on your age, race, gender or socioeconomic situation. It affects everyone and we should all band together to fight and stop diabetes.”
Also of particular concern to Chief Middleton are the disturbing obesity rates in Chatham County, where one in three kids are obese and 29 percent of adults are obese. The 5k Walk & Run associated with the Step Out campaign sent the message that being physically active is more fun than sitting in front of a screen all day.
The Kick-Off featured information about diabetes, offered fundraising strategies and suggestions, detailed upcoming special events to be held this year and also included a local guest speaker personally affected by Type I diabetes. Kick-off attendees also learned how to become a sponsor and/or form a walk or running team for the campaign.
This year, the event will be held on Saturday, October 19th at Skidaway State Park. In addition to the existing 5k Walk, the event will also feature a 5k Run managed by the team at Fleet Feet.
According to Middleton, “Diabetes affects nearly 30,000 people locally which is why it is so important to get the word out about this disease and about our campaign. Money raised at the Step Out events help fund research and local community outreach activities.”
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death by disease in the United States. Statistics show one in three Americans and one in two minorities will develop diabetes in their lifetime. To date, the ADA has raised over $500 million for diabetes research.