World Series baseball teams from tribal communities such as Conehatta and Redwater walked 40 miles to the Pearl River community on Saturday morning to help spread awareness about diabetes.
In addition to distance, all baseball teams participating in the 15th annual Solidarity Walk must assemble at the Choctaw High School Softball Field at 10:15 a.m. on June 25, so some teams had to start their treks early in the morning.
Diabetes prevention coordinator Sharron Thompson said Unity Walk and Run began in 2007, when members of the tribe met a group of people in Bay Springs traveling through Mississippi and decided to start their own walks to fight diabetes.
“Back in 2007, the diabetes prevention group was trying to find a way for Choctaws to get involved in physical activity,” Thompson said.“There was a group of people from Bay Springs, Mississippi, who were walking and they invited us to walk with them. We met them in Bay Springs and walked back to the reservation, which inspired the pre-Choctaw Indian Fair The idea of a solidarity walk.”
World Series baseball teams arrive at the Choctaw Central High School softball field parking lot from their respective practice fields.From there, the team walked together to the Pearl River Amphitheatre.
The Special Diabetes Initiative for Indians (SDPI) and Diabetes Prevention Initiative sponsor the event and encourage everyone to unite in the fight against diabetes.
“It’s an awareness campaign and it’s a great time because it’s got Stickball players excited and angry,” Thompson said.“We had several teams from different communities involved. This year we had 28 teams participating in the walk, maybe an increase of about five teams from when we first started. We have grown slightly over the year compared to 600 people.We also have 57 drummers.”
Some teams from communities such as Conehatta and Redwater walk 20 to 40 miles from their Stickball courts to the Pearl River community.
“No matter how far they’re going, all teams have to assemble at the Choctaw High Ballpark at 10:15 a.m.,” Thompson said.”I’ve been on this program since we started it, but this is the first year I’ve led it, and I think it’s going very well. We’re united against diabetes. That’s the goal, spreading awareness.”
When they arrived at the amphitheater, the team received water, Gatorade, and a bagged lunch with burgers and hot dogs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Native Americans are twice as likely to develop diabetes.Diabetes is the cause in about two-thirds of Native Americans with kidney failure.Kidney failure due to diabetes in Native Americans dropped by 54 percent between 1996 and 2013.
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Post time: Jun-30-2022