Outdoor Connection

Saving lives one step at a time

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More from Outdoor Living Newsletter January Outdoor Living Newsletter
Melissa Williams with a Run Forrest Run sign
Melissa Williams, founder of the CA Wellness Walk

Starting in January 2010, Melissa Williams and two of her team members will embark on the CA Wellness Walk, a 750-mile trek from San Diego to Sacramento, to help raise awareness for Type 2 diabetes, which is predicted to affect one in three American children in their lifetime.

Melissa's journey is as interesting as the one she is about to embark on, "growing up, I was the fat kid who couldn't run a mile to save her life. Now I'm walking 750 miles through California to do just that and inspire others in the process!" Melissa grew up in California's Sierra Nevada foothills, and whizzed through school by taking local college classes at the age of 12 and completing high school in three years! Always great at math, she shipped out to Boston to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her time at MIT set the volunteer wheels in motion where she worked with Keys to Empowering Youth, bringing together 11-13 year old girls in workshops with college girls to encourage interest in science and engineering. "KEYs provided the background for the CA Wellness Walk's school workshops," said Melissa.

The idea for CA Wellness Walk came when Melissa was working for PA Consulting's Life Science & Healthcare practice. "We had the opportunity to model diabetes and its related diseases. It was very interesting and very scary. The results scared me into action, and I realized that I needed to get healthier or I would have a future of diabetes, heart disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, stroke... the list went on and on." From that moment she was compelled to do something to benefit the community, at-risk youth and in the process embrace a new regimen for herself.

As her CA Wellness Walk website outlines:

If current trends continue, one in three born in 2000 will get diabetes by 2050. One in three will have to be constantly aware of their blood sugar. One in three will always worry about the potential life-threatening complications. Hispanic? Consider that one in two!

But we are not powerless. We can change that future. Healthy habits and lifestyle choices significantly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes represents 90-95% of current diabetes cases, and early prevention through healthy lifestyles will put a dent in the one-in-three outlook!

Through our classroom workshops with middle school students, we will empower the next generation with the tools and information to improve their health. We will not let it become one in three. Not on our watch!

Going from school to school, Melissa and her team will lead a series of workshops focused on educating students, parents, and teachers about the dangers of diabetes and how to prevent it by leading active, healthy lifestyles. By choosing healthier foods and exercising daily, kids can reduce their chances of developing diabetes significantly.

For Melissa and her team, this is no weekend warrior road trip. The CA Wellness Walk will cover 750 miles, through over 60 cities, over 5 months, with some camping stops along the way. The walk begins in January and will culminate with a gala celebration in June 2010. CampingRoadTrip.com has joined the cause by securing camping accommodations along the route for the team. We have secured hosts in a number of cities along the way, but are in dire need of more support.

If you are interested in hosting the team or sponsoring the walk, contact Melissa Williams or visit the CA Wellness Walk website. Every $12.50 enables another ¼ mile of the walk. Inspire 50 students by sponsoring a workshop for $32. Corporate sponsorships start as low as $250.00. More than ever, every step counts. Now is the time to act in order to ensure a safe, healthy future for America's youth.

Campers and RVers can play a part by spreading the word about the risks of diabetes, encourage healthy, well balanced behaviors and most of all awareness of this issue. At CampingRoadTrip.com we are proud to support Melissa Williams and the CA Wellness Walk team, who are making a difference one step at a time.

We thank the California campgrounds who have donated stays for Melissa and her team:

Cabana Holiday Resort in Salinas,
Lake Nacimiento Resort in Paso Robles,
Skyline Wilderness Campground in Napa

Copyright ©2010 Camping Road Trip, LLC

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