Dozens raise money, awareness for diabetes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Dozens raise money, awareness for diabetes

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

It's a disease that affects millions of Americans yet often goes undiagnosed. Nearly 26 million people in this country have been diagnosed with some form of diabetes, while around seven million people are undiagnosed.

In South Mississippi on Saturday morning, dozens of people touched by diabetes put on their walking shoes to raise money and public awareness.

About 70 people, young and old, stepped out for a common cause this Saturday morning in Hiller Park: Diabetes education and awareness.

Joel Birdsong is with Prince Hall Shriners, Karun Temple #48, which organized the event.

"I am a diabetic, and we have several members of our temple that have diabetes. Two out of 10 Americans has diabetes. And awareness is really needed," he said.

Stephanie and David Dunn have a very personal reason for joining the walk. He's a diabetic, but he hasn't let that diagnosis rule his life.

"It's a scary disease. But with the proper education and diet and everything, you can get it under control.  It's not a life ender. It's more, it makes you appreciate things more sometimes," he explained.

Along with walking or running to raise money for research and increase public awareness, the event also featured a health fair with various vendors.

"My wife is a diabetic. And I picked up some information from one of the vendors to take back home and share with her," said Jackson County resident James Torrey.

"We've got water if you need it!" shouted the volunteers, as walkers and runners passed the halfway mark.

Most everyone we talked with has either loved ones or friends with some form of diabetes.

"I know a lot of people that, I didn't realize until you started talking to people that they have diabetes. And here lately I'm finding a lot of people have diabetes," said Richard Cook from Pass Christian.

"My wife and my friends, they are diabetics," said Michael Jackson of Gulfport.

The youngest participant, eight month old Aven, was there for someone special. And sleeping peacefully in his stroller.

"He's stepping out for diabetes, he's sleeping for diabetes and grandma," said his mother.

Sixty-seven people tackled the two miles, showing their support for diabetes research and awareness.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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