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Diabetes walk to raise funds for research

October 2, 2000

Break out that warm-up suit and dust off those sneakers - Oct. 21 marks the 10th annual America’s Walk for Diabetes in Lansing.

Potter Park Zoo will host the event this year, providing walk participants with a safe, peaceful walking environment, said Jessica Grant, area executive director of the Greater Michigan chapter of the American Diabetes Association.

“It’s a good location,” Grant said. “It’s a fun and pretty walk.”

The walk will span three miles and follow the River Walk through Potter Park Zoo.

In the past, the event has drawn crowds of participants close to 300 and has raised more than $250,000 to benefit diabetes research and awareness. This year, the association expects the largest turnout ever, estimating that more than 300 people will volunteer their time in hopes of raising money to help find a cure for diabetes.

Some MSU students said they wished the walk did more to attract them.

English senior Jen Howard said she thought the association should incorporate MSU’s campus into the walk.

“If they wanted to involve more students, they should have (the walk) go through campus,” Howard said.

Despite his personal interest in helping to find a cure - diabetes runs in his family - political science junior Ryan Albright remained skeptical about student participation.

“I don’t know how many would participate,” Albright said. “Most students are apathetic to any cause.”

To date, close to 16 million Americans live with diabetes, with an estimated 396,000 in Michigan. Each day, approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed and an expected 798,000 will be diagnosed this year.

As with any outdoor event, there is a concern about the weather forecast. Although the association hopes that the weather will be nice, Grant said the walk will take place, rain or shine.

Howard, though, feels the October date might keep some people from attending.

“I think (the weather) will have an impact on turnout,” Howard said. “Especially for older people and people with small kids.”

While walk participants are responsible for a sizable portion of the overall fund-raising effort, they are not the only people involved in raising money.

Local sponsors have opened their checkbooks in a showing of support to help America’s Walk for Diabetes. Sparrow Health System, Oldies 97.5 and the Lansing Lions and Lioness Clubs represent a few of the local sponsors.

While those interested in participating in the walk can register up until the day of the event, Grant recommends that everyone preregister.

“There is no deadline,” Grant said. “But we prefer that someone preregister so that we can get them the information they need.”

Those interested in volunteering as walkers can register online at www.diabetes.org or by calling (800)799-8908 ext. 6714.

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