GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Around 200 South Mississippians laced up their shoes for a walk at the Gulfport Sportsplex to help those with diabetes.
Saturday's walk was the first of the season for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. And many of the walkers had a very personal connection to the disease.
Five-year-old Liam Murphy was amongst those walking.
"It's for my diabetes," Murphy said.
Murphy was diagnosed three years ago with type 1 diabetes.
"It means that I have to test my blood sugar," Murphy explained.
The diagnosis has certainly presented challenges for Liam's proud parents.
"Based upon what his blood sugar reads, we either have to administer insulin, give him some insulin or give him some carbohydrates to try and keep him in a level where he's not going to suffer any of the consequences having too high blood sugar or too low blood sugar," Paul Murphy said. "It's a constant struggle, but fortunately we have the support of the foundation."
The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi reaches out to those with the disease and their families.
Associate Director of the Foundation Irena McClain said, "We want people to realize that life with diabetes is a life without limits."
Another big part of the foundation's mission is to raise awareness.
"Diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease, non-traumatic amputations and adult onset blindness," McClain said.
Currently 372,000 Mississippians live with diabetes, but some of those do not know they have the condition.
"About a third of them don't realize they have diabetes," McClain said. "Part of our mission also is to try to reduce the number of undiagnosed people."
With the support of those who showed up for the walk, the mission is easier to achieve.
Paul Murphy said, "We can't thank you enough. It is just wonderful; it touches our hearts for y'all to be here."
If you missed Saturday's walk, there will be another one at USM Pride Field in Hattiesburg on October 2.