The annual Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes - Metro East at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville was once again a large success under the direction of Rawnie Berry.

The walk was held Saturday on the SIUE campus and 689 registered, all together for a common cause – to stop diabetes.

Final totals for the walk aren’t yet in, but before the walk started $106,000 had been raised and several other donations were coming in, so Berry hoped it would exceed the goal of $125,000. All funds collected by Dec. 31 apply to this year’s effort, so the committee coordinating the walk feels confident that the goal will be met, Berry said.

“Walkers have the opportunity to meet others who are living with diabetes and to realize they aren’t alone in fighting this disease,” Berry said. “They also support each other emotionally over the loss of loved ones and friends who have lost their lives to the many complications that diabetes creates.”

This year marks the 75th year of the American Diabetes Association’s continuous progress working to improve the lives of people with diabetes through research, advocacy and education.

Dr. Julio Leey is a big supporter of the annual Metro East Diabetes Walk.“For 75 years, the American Diabetes Association® has been fighting to improve the lives of all people with diabetes, to increase education and awareness of this complex set of diseases and to provide funding and support for the research needed to make significant advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention,” Berry said. “Diabetes affects nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S, that’s more than 9 percent of the population.

“It’s likely that you, a family member or someone you know has diabetes. If you’ve taken the Diabetes Risk Test, if your insurance has paid for diabetes test supplies or if a child you know receives insulin at school, you’ve been touched by the Association’s dedication and commitment to this cause. Our promise to you is: To continue to improve the lives of those living with diabetes and to keep fighting until together we find a cure and Stop Diabetes® for good.”

Since 1952, the Association has invested more than $700 million, supporting nearly 4,500 research projects that have contributed immeasurably to enhancements in diabetes treatment and outcomes.

In the past 20 years, there have been substantial reductions in major diabetes-related complications: heart attack (decreased more than 60 percent); strokes and lower extremity amputations (each decreased about 50 percent); end stage kidney failure (decreased about 30 percent).

Since January 2014, 11 scientists have each been awarded $1.625 million over five to seven years to investigate bold new approaches to prevention and treatment of diabetes and its complications. The Association’s goal is to identify and support researchers at the peak of their creativity and equip them with the freedom, autonomy and professional mentoring to drive new breakthroughs in the fight to Stop Diabetes®.

Since its inception, the American Diabetes Association® has taken the lead in bThe Bank of Edwardsville is a strong walk supporter each year.ringing together the world’s foremost diabetes experts to collaborate on cutting-edge research and to create a forum in which they could share the most current information available on how to diagnose, treat and prevent diabetes. It has played a major role in raising funds for transformative diabetes research and in advocating for the rights of those living with diabetes. Your contributions have helped make all of this possible. But with prevalence rates now at epidemic proportions, as we celebrate our progress over the past 75 years we must not lose sight of the work ahead of us. Now, more than ever, we need your help in the fight to find a cure and to Stop Diabetes®.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for being here today, for supporting us as sponsors and donors, for walking to provide moral support for those fighting this disease every day, and for walking in memory of those who lost the fight and lost their lives to diabetes,” said Berry on Saturday.

Grogan's Martial Arts did a fitness demonstration at the annual diabetes walk.

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