On October 27th, 2007 hundreds of people gathered in Charlotte's Freedom Park to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for diabetes.
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Female Speaker 1: I personally I am ready for a cure. Rebecca Fox: Beyond every step, there was a story. Female Speaker 1: I am here to tell you what the cure mean to me. Rebecca Fox: At Charlotte's Step Out to Fight Diabetes event, many of the participants knew all too well the affects of America's fastest growing disease. People like Edna Lang and Bunker Hill. Edna Lang: I mean I exercise, I mean I do everything then I count everything. You know my blood sugar is as good as a normal person. Bunker Hill: I treat with medication but doctor say if I lose 20 pounds, I can come off the midge. Rebecca Fox: Many came to the American Diabetes Association event to support coworkers, family and friends. Female Speaker 2: I worked on Alcove and I have a friend who has diabetes. Female Speaker 3: My husband was diagnosed with diabetes. It's been about 6 years ago. Rebecca Fox: For some, this event was bitter sweet. Matt Lichty in a soccer team walked in memory of a team mate who passed away of a sudden diabetic attack this spring. Matt Lichty: It's a shame that he is not here and every time we play soccer and he is not there, we miss him but it's good to get out here and do this, not just for him but for everybody. Rebecca Fox: Whatever their connection to the disease, their purpose was the same, promote awareness about diabetes and raise money to find a cure. It's estimated nearly 21 million people in the US have diabetes, nearly a third are unaware they have the disease. Dr. Sathya Jyothinagaram: So I think as the world has become more prosperous, I think people have kind of gotten away from the kind of life styles they used to live in terms of eating right, exercise. Rebecca Fox: According to the American Diabetes Association, if current trends continue, one in three Americans and one in two minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their life time. While the numbers can seem staggering, say diabetes is still largely minimized in the public side, even though it's associated with an increased risk for a number of serious and/or life threatening complications. Dr. Sathya Jyothinagaram: 60-70% of all diabetics die from heart disease. Dr. Arman Farr: Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the middle age group in this country. Pat Higgins: Kidney failure; huge problem for diabetics. Dr. Sathya Jyothinagaram: Diabetes is the number one cause of all non-traumatic amputations. Pat Higgins: People don't really know how devastating it is. Mary Ellen Baker: The American Diabetes Association is really focused on the prevention and the cure of diabetes. So they need to have community events, just like this to really raise awareness. Rebecca Fox: Annually this event this held in more than 200 cities nationwide. Diabetes advocates say, it's one of many needed steps in stopping the disease. Pat Higgins: I think it's a very clear cycle, I think that if the more people know about it, the more people who are diagnosed or who get screen for it, the more people who understand it so I have it in my family so I need to be careful. The more we will be advocates for ourselves and for diabetes in general. Rebecca Fox: Raising nearly $200,000 dedicated to finding the cure. This fundraising walk was one more step in the right direction. Female Speaker 1: It's not easy, but through it and through raising money to support the cure, we can win this battle. Rebecca Fox: In charlotte, for icu.com, I am Rebecca Fox.