What can inspire ordinary people to walk over 5,400 miles in 5 months? Good health. What began as one local man’s neighborhood stroll has expanded into one of the longest marches across the United States.
The Longest Walk 3: Reversing Diabetes (LW3) is, “a 5,000+ mile walk across America with two routes, the first being the Southern Route spanning from San Diego, CA to Washington,DC and the Northern Route spanning from Portland, OR to Washington, DC, to bring awareness of the devastating effects of diabetes and how it can be reversed by changing our entire diet and lifestyle!” The march includes talks about reversing diabetes and heart disease, cleaning trash on the way, and making an appearance at the National Diabetes Summit in Leesburg, VA, right outside of the nation’s capitol.
At the age of 75, Native American Dennis J. Banks may not seem like the ideal candidate to start a march or movement, but then again Dennis is not a typical person. He has been a leader and activist in American Indian affairs for 45 years and has been the initiator or sponsor of many pieces of government legislation to support and further Native American rights.
Dennis was diagnosed with diabetes in the spring of 2009. When Dennis saw the film, “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days.” he told Keith “I’m not going to spend the rest of my life taking shots. Let’s go out and buy some fresh vegetables!”
Along with his personal health education in treating his own diabetes Dennis also began educating himself on the worldwide effect of diabetes, quickly finding astonishing information.
What Dennis found was that diabetes is a worldwide problem, affecting over 246 million people, hitting the Native American community especially hard. In the United States the disease has risen to epidemic levels. Diabetes rates are as high as 90% in some tribes!
With the overall population it is estimated that 1 in 3 children born in the U.S. after the year 2000 will develop diabetes within their lifetime, and the numbers are rising. Due to processed foods, bad eating habits, and non-existent exercise, Americans are finding themselves at greater risks to the debilitating disease than ever before.
Dennis Banks may only be one man, but with the help and support of others, he has been able to add another voice and a pair of feet to help get the fight against diabetes moving!