PUBLISHED: 4:32 PM on Wednesday, May 2, 2007
SEARHC holds walk supporting diabetes prevention
SITKA - It's spring, so that means it's time to hit the trails for a cause.

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Diabetes Program is sponsoring a community-wide fun run/walk for diabetes prevention at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 5, as part of the grand opening ceremonies for the Heart Lake to Thimbleberry Trail. This event is free and open to the community.

Diabetes is a serious chronic health condition that can result in heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, dental problems, foot amputations and even early death. The number of Americans with diabetes is on the rise, and the spread of the disease especially is impacting the Alaska Native and American Indian community. Between 1990 and 2004, the number of Alaskans with diabetes has more than tripled. Of great concern is the rapid growth of diabetes in young adult age groups.

"It's time to dig those sneakers out from the bottom of the closet and get walking," said Toby Brooks, SEARHC Diabetes Grant Coordinator.

"Increasing your physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent diabetes or limit the impact of diabetes in your life. Walking is a great way for diabetics to keep the disease at bay. And walking's fun, too."

Because of the diabetes crisis among Alaska Natives and American Indians, Congress appropriated special funding for diabetes care and prevention, known as the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

Alaska currently receives $8.3 million from this program, which is distributed among 24 tribal grantees around the state, including SEARHC for Southeast Alaska.

The resources from this grant supports many, if not most, of the diabetes prevention and control programs in Southeast Alaska and the rest of the state. The money is due for reauthorization in 2008, and continuation of these funds is vital for many of these programs to continue. Please join us on Saturday, May 5, in support of diabetes prevention and control.

For more information, contact Toby Brooks of the SEARHC Diabetes Program at 966-8915 or by e-mail at