FAIRFIELD — An inaugural Walk to Fight Diabetes had a small turnout of participants Saturday at Armijo High School, but lots of enthusiasm.
Members of Alooma Temple No. 212 Shriners and Alooma Court No. 198 Daughters of Isis organized the event, which was the first Walk to Fight Diabetes for the African-American Shriners group that partnered with the National Diabetes Association to increase awareness about the medical condition.
“So many people are affected and people just don’t know about it,” said Larry Hill Sr., illustrious potentate of Alooma Temple No. 212 and co-chairman for the walk. “We want to bring awareness to the community about this disease.”
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in the blood because not enough insulin is produced. It can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy, amputations and death.
Costs associated with diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. in 2012 were placed at $245 billion, according to the American Diabetes Association. That includes $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity.
The walk was organized across the country Saturday by the Prince Hall Shriners Foundation in an effort to raise $100,000 to help with research and treatment of diabetes, according to information from the Prince Hall Shriners Foundation. The local walk kicked in a modest sum, with more contributions expected.
“We have raised about $400 today, but we have heard from people who said they would be donating more in the mail,” said Joslyn Hatcher of Alooma Court No. 198 Daughters of Isis. She was co-chairwoman for the walk.
Food and water was provided for the 25 participants of the event, including members of the Shriners organization.
“People chose how far they wanted to walk,” Hatcher said. “It’s about three-quarters of a mile around the block. Some people have walked it several times.”
For many, it was important to get out and support the Shriners, who work to help the community.
“Larry recruited me last year to come out for the walk,” Michelle Aas said. “I like to support good causes.”
She brought her daughter, Kayla, who attends Vacaville Christian Elementary School. Kayla seemed to enjoy the early morning activity.
“I want to run cross-country next year,” she said.
Charlotte Law made it a family day by bringing her mother, Joyce Caro, along for the walk along with a friend, Jordan Frances. Frances is a member of the African-American Stanely Y. Beverly Lodge No. 108 in Suisun City and came out at the urging of Hill.
“We felt it was important to support the foundation in helping look for a cure,” Caro said.
Officials said the Prince Hall Shriners will have more events throughout the year to support the effort to cure diabetes.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or [email protected]
— Source: 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet