Photo by Dan Brannan
The St. Louis Cardinals’ Fredbird entertained Andy Ott and best friend Ryan Krell at the Metro East Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes last fall. Ott was diagnosed last year with diabetes.
A No. 1 national ranking has a Metro East diabetes fund-raiser walking tall.
This past year, the Metro East Step Out: Walk To Stop Diabetes was rated first in the United States for its 138 percent increase over its goal. The Simmons Firm was the presenting sponsor of the 2013 walk in the fall.
The goal for this year was $80,000 and the final total $110,309 was raised.
Rawnie Berry, director of the walk, said it received considerable attention throughout the American Diabetes Association for the ranking.
“It is unbelievable that we have received this type of support,” said Berry. “Businessmen Mark Hinrichs and John Simmons both said we could do it and we did achieve our goal and much more. John and his firm have been unbelievably supportive in the walk starting three years ago. Everybody counts in regard to raising money for the walk.”
Berry said the walk, held at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, has exceptional volunteers, team captains, corporate sponsors and individual and group participants.
“There are no words to describe how thankful we are for the volunteers, sponsors and those who participate in the walk,” Berry said. “The fund-raising comes from everywhere. Individuals even make things they can sell to raise money for the walk. One woman even made little angels out of paper clips and beads near Christmas and sold them.”
Berry said it is important to remember that in regard to the walk, every penny raised counts. The numbers for the walk were astounding with 111 volunteers, 74 teams and 22 sponsors there the day of the walk. A total of 775 people were present for the day of the ADA Walk in October last year.
Funding for the Metro East Diabetes Walk assists in research. Last year nationally in the ADA more than $2.3 million was granted to Washington University in St. Louis for diabetes research.
“It is amazing how the Metro East people have risen to the call and come out in good numbers,” she said. “There are 26 million people now estimated to have diabetes. It has raged to epidemic proportions. Finding a cure for diabetes would change the lives of millions of people, which would make life for many people much easier.”
Berry closed by saying as youth ambassador Connor Broyles said: “Finding a cure would mean all the difference in the world.”