Photo by Diane Cox
Lucas Hale of Senior Services Plus stands next to Roger Brainerd of Alton. Brainerd is a Red Strider Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association.
ALTON — The American Diabetes Association is in high gear as it plans for the annual Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes event Saturday, Sept. 19, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
As part of the campaign, the association is honoring individuals who have faced the challenge of living with diabetes and not just survived, but thrived. Diabetes association ambassadors called Red Striders showcase the courage it takes to live every day with the disease and those who excel. Alton native Roger Brainerd embraced the trial and is living healthier than he has in years, even with Type 2 diabetes.
“I’ve lost 50 pounds through diet and exercise and all with the help of Senior Services Plus,” Brainerd said. “I can’t give them enough credit. The SSP facility is my second home; I’m here four to five days a week. I became a member here as a part of my lifestyle change. I was busy dying, so I decided to get busy living.”
Senior Services Plus members can enjoy a social environment that offers events and activities, home care, nutrition experts, personal trainers, Meals on Wheels, a wellness center and the School House Grill.
“When the doctor put me on insulin, that was a wake-up call,” Brainerd said. “My doctor had been telling me to exercise — at least walk. I was in denial for a long time. I signed up at Senior Services and got on the ‘get fit’ program. I have a personal trainer and we meet twice a week. I’ve met with a dietician to establish a proper eating plan and now I’m down 50 pounds and I’m off insulin. It’s all about exercise and how you see food.”
The Metro East Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes begins and ends at Parking Lot A on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Both routes pass through The Gardens of SIUE, a public botanical garden.
Registration and check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and ends at noon.
A health and wellness zone will feature Alton Memorial Hospital providing free blood sugar tests, blood pressure checks and conversations with medical professionals. Walgreens will provide free flu vaccinations. Sponsors will provide information on products and services and provide give-away items.
The diabetes association is offering a children’s area showcasing the Children’s Hospital Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance. Inflatable activities also will be available.
Radio personalities Ricci and Brando of the Arch 106.5 will give out free items and shake hands. St. Louis Cardinals mascot Fredbird will be available for free photographs and INDY CAR Series driver Charlie Kimball will appear for free photos and autographs.
To join Roger Brainerd at the walk or make a donation, visit www.diabetes.org/stepoutmetroeast or call Rawnie Berry at (888) 342-2383, ext. 6829.