Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Wed, Jan. 27

Diabetes walk nets $6,000-plus

The second annual America’s Walk for Diabetes in Williams Saturday brought awareness to the disease and collected quite a bit for diabetes research.

“We raised $6,126,” said Rose Marie Rincon, sponsor of the Williams Diabetes Support Group. “That’s $1,000 more than last year. And we’ve still got a little bit coming in.

“I think we did great.”

Even though only 30 people pre-registered for the walk, quite a few showed up to proclaim their support in the fight for a cure for diabetes.

“We had at least 100 people walking,” Rincon said. “And around 40 kids.”

Many of the local walkers came out to the event to walk in memory of a relative who has perished from the disease. Among them were Gene Jesttes, 15, and his uncle Robert Jesttes, 32, who collected more than $355 for the walk-a-thon.

“We did it in memory of our grandmother,” said Gene. “We watched her lose her legs and her eyes. She got Alzheimer’s from it and she died from it.”

It was more than two years ago that their grandmother, Rose Agnes Green, died from diabetes, but the pain from the loss is still evident in the eyes of the two young men.

“We went out in the rain and started collecting,” Gene said.

Rincon said when she went to pick up the donation, it was comprised of mostly change and a few small bills.

“It was nickels, dimes and quarters,” she said. “The biggest donation on the sponsor form, which was all tattered and worn, was $20.”

Other local walkers, who did so in memory of loved ones, included Yolando Corona and her two daughters, Monica and Cecilia, who walked in memory of her father who died due to complications of diabetes. Andrew Karlsburger, 4-years-old, rode his bike in memory of his great-grandmother. And Albert Rincon and his brother, Michael, walked in memory of their grandmother.

Other local groups that got involved included the Williams Health Care Center, Williams Kiwanis Club, the Grand Canyon Railway, K.C. Hilites, Arizona Department of Transportation, the Williams Police Department, Lions Club, Williams’ Relay for Life volunteers and the Forest Service.

“Jan Neal from the Williams Ranger District Office made up goodie bags she gave out to the kids,” Rincon said. “We got a lot of good representation.”

Not only locals got involved in the event, Rincon said.

“The Prescott support group came, and the Flagstaff Type I Support Group was here,” she said.

Included in the Flagstaff Type I group who walked was 3-year-old diabetic Clare O’Brien and her family. Also, Jacob Burger, district manager for the American Diabetes Association, and Jim Stover, chair for Arizona walks for the ADA, participated in the 1.5-mile walk.

Currently across the nation, there are about 16 million diabetics.

The money raised will help the ADA fund research to find a cure for diabetes, enact laws protecting diabetic’s rights and support diabetic programs.

“I would like to thank my husband, Larry Rincon, and all the people that participated and the people who helped with registration, selling raffle tickets and everything,” Rincon said. “Thanks to the Mountain Side Inn and Small-Town America for being water stops and to KRTE radio for publicizing the event.”

In the past three years, walkers across the nation have raised $400,000 for research and other ADA programs. Locally, in two years Williams has raised more than $12,000.

The support group meets the 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of every month in the lobby of the health care center.

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