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Hiker actually combatting diabetes

POSTED: April 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Emily Peterson/

Andy Mandell walks along a lonely stretch of Highway 17 in Liberty County.

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Andy Mandell, aka, Mr. Diabetes, is walking with the hope that he will help save lives, and not just his own.
Diagnosed with diabetes in 1985, Mandell knows how important it is for people to be informed about diabetes, its symptoms and the fact that there are millions of Americans living with the disease who don't even know it.
"Diabetes is out of control," Mandell said.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 20.8 million American adults and children have diabetes. Of those people, close to one-third have yet to be diagnosed.
Mandell began his journey with a trial walk of 450 miles on Dec. 1, 2000. On Jan. 15, 2002, he resumed walking with the goal of walking the more than 10,000-mile perimeter of the United States.
Walking through his 33rd state on Monday, Mandell hit 9,200 miles on his way through Liberty County. He has another 1,100 miles to go, and hopes to reach his starting and finishing point of Madeira Beach, Fla. by December.
In 1990, Mandell, along with his brother Jerry, co-founded the Defeat Diabetes Foundation to inform the public about diabetes and its risks.
"My personal experience with diabetes is extreme," Mandell said, noting that he suffers from diabetic caused neuropathy, which limits feeling in his legs and feet.
"Nutrition is very important and so is fitness. See your doctor, eat right and exercise," Mandell said.
He adopted the name "Mr. Diabetes" in hopes that diabetics will come to trust him and his passion to inform people about the disease.
To learn more about Mandell's journey and diabetes, visit www.defeatdiabetes.org.
 

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