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Stepping Out to Support Diabetes

From left: Rev. Clarence Williams, Rebecca Jackson, Kim Jones, Dave Smith, Cindy Meagher, and Paula Kreissler are members of the Wound Care Clinic ECU walkathon team, and they will be raising money in the American Diabetes Association\u2019s 2009 Sunsplash Outdoor Fitness Celebration. (John Carrington/Savannah Morning News)

Published Savannah Morning News Aug. 23, 2009

The Rev. Clarence Williams is walking proof that it’s possible to control Type 2 diabetes with a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy your favorite foods.

“I can eat pretty much anything that I want,” said Williams, the pastor at First Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church on Alice Street. “I just have to do so in moderation.”

Now 50, Williams said he’s had Type 2 Diabetes – which usually affects adults – since 1992. He takes insulin daily, exercises several times a week at the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center, and undergoes treatment at the Wound Care Clinic on East 68th Street.

Williams, who has a deep callus on his left foot that must be monitored, plans to walk with the Wound Care Clinic team in the 2009 Sunsplash Outdoor Fitness Festival, an Oct. 17 fundraiser that will benefit the American Diabetes Association.

This will be the fifth year that the clinic has participated in the event, said Paula Kreissler, its president and CEO.

Last year, she said, the Wound Clinic had 44 walkers on its team and raised more than $11,000, the most of any participating team. This year, she hopes to have more than 50 walkers and to raise the most money again.

However, she’ll face quite a challenge as the annual fundraiser, which had been just a walk, has been expanded to include cyclists and kayakers.

The event has taken place for about 16 years and at several locations, including Forsyth Park and Oatland Island, said Suzanne Willis, the associate manager of the Diabetes Association’s Southeast Georgia and Coastal Carolina office.

“We’re attracting a way bigger audience” for the enlarged event, said Willis.

In recent years, the fundraiser has had about 1,500 participants and raised around $100,000. “This year,” Willis said, “we’re hoping for 2,000.”

Williams, Kreissler and the other walkers will take in a scenic course along the Skidaway River in their 5K challenge. Cyclists can choose from 10-mile, 20-mile, or 40-mile routes that will wind through Skidaway Island and The Landings, and the kayakers will enter the water at Butterbean Beach and then paddle 3 miles down the Skidaway River to the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service Aquarium.

After the athletic events, a celebration will take place at the aquarium. It will include, Willis said, food by Tubby’s Tank House, live bands, about 50 health vendors, and activities for children.