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Health Center Today, October 7, 2010

Fighting Diabetes One Step at a Time

By Chris Kaminski

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Against a background of a setting sun and falling leaves, 150 members of the UConn Health Center community and their family and friends recently participated in the StepOut Walk to Fight Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association’s signature fundraising event. The walk took place at Lake Compounce in Bristol and approximately 600 individuals participated.

“I’m extremely proud of the UConn Health Center team,” says Mike Summerer, hospital director and corporate chairman of the 2010 StepOut Walk. “The team demonstrated lots of enthusiasm, spirit and pride.”

The Health Center was represented at the event with the largest team and raised more than $8,000. “Once the word got out that the Health Center was forming a team it was easy to get people excited and willing to participate,” says Jean Kostak, team captain and coordinator of the Health Center’s Diabetes Education Program.

In addition to walking for a great cause, participants were also treated to the rides and Haunted Graveyard attraction at Lake Compounce. “It felt like being a kid again. We had so much fun while supporting such a great cause,” says team member Linda Wetzel. “There are many members of my family who have diabetes and I hope that someday there will be a cure.” Many other team members expressed their reason for participating was because they had diabetes or knew of someone with the disease.

There are 23.6 million Americans living with diabetes, a disease that is outpacing heart disease, cancer and AIDS. Additionally, there are an estimated 57 million, or one in five Americans, who have pre-diabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Money raised at the event helps to fund research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes, and to provide services to local communities.

Photo of StepOut Walk participants