Stop Diabetes and Paint the Town Red

Lace up for the step out—Walk to stop Diabetes, America’'s fastest growing disease

According to the 2010 Census, an estimated 1,671,683 people live in Hampton Roads. Out of that, around 175,000 people (10 percent) have diabetes. Even more shocking is that 53,000 people out of the 175,000 don’t even know that they have the disease; that’s 30 percent.

Like many diseases, diabetes is on the path to one day being cured. Though no one can really say when that day will come, there are steps that can be taken today to ensure that a cure is found. One of those initiatives revolves around an event that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) hosts every year.

Step Out: Walk To Stop Diabetes is the ADA’s signature fundraising walk that takes place each fall. This year, walks will be held in more than 144 cities throughout the country including Virginia Beach and Smithfield. On Saturday, Oct. 8, thousands of people will gather at the Oceanfront at 31st Street Park to lend their support to this cause, and just as many will gather on Sunday, Oct. 9 at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield.

Shelby Frank, the local Step Out coordinator, describes the walk as “a party to celebrate the fundraising accomplishments of teams and individuals and an opportunity to promote awareness about the seriousness of diabetes and celebrate Red Striders for living the fight against diabetes each day.” A Red Strider includes anyone living with diabetes who chooses to walk and raise funds for the ADA.

All Red Striders will receive free special incentives at the walk. Last year’s local events rallied more than 2,000 people walking for this cause. People can form teams of co-workers, friends and family, or you can choose to walk as an individual. Everyone has a chance to help put an end to America’s fastest growing disease, and organizers encourage everyone to step up and step out to stop diabetes.

To register for the Virginia Beach or Smithfield walks, visit

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