US – RRT helps at San Antonio Walk for Diabetes
On October 31 2015, the Rapid Relief Team from San Antonio, Texas gathered early in the morning at the Mission County Park Pavilion, to volunteer at the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes Event. With a goal to raise $225,000.00, The American Diabetes Society was preparing for a large event including a total of 1,526 walkers. The ADA has been hosting their signature fundraising walks for over 20 years and has raised more than $200,000,000 to stop Diabetes through research, advocacy and education. This year was particularly special as the American Diabetes Association was celebrating their 75th Anniversary of continuous progress to improve the lives of people with diabetes.
Despite the previous night bringing torrential rain and flooding, the event coordinators and volunteers worked quickly to revamp the route and clear the pathway of mud and debris. Volunteers then began to clear the main flooded area with squeegees, brooms so that the tents and stands could be set up amongst the inches of mud washed in from the storm.
The event entailed two walks, a “Short ‘n’ Snappy” 1 mile walk and a more traditional 5k walk through the beautiful wild life just south of the Famous Downtown Riverwalk. The event had live music; a vendors village and a children’s play area. The Baptist Health Care Mobile Care Unit offered free health screenings on site and The Walgreens Drug Store also had a similar set up, offering free flu shots.
With the start of the event only 30 minutes away, cars began streaming in and volunteers rushed with orange flags and lit batons to assist with parking and ushering the crowds to the registration booths. Children and adults who registered as having type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, immediately became a “Red Strider” and were considered VIP. Once registered, the participants were able to roam through the many booths and tents while waiting for the walk to start. Around 7:30am, the walkers began to line up in groups and at 8:00am, they burst through the starting zone and were well on their way!
At the start of the event, the runners burst through the canvas at the announcers call, racing around a ¼ mile track with their feet barely hitting the ground! Next up, the Red Striders adorned with red capes hit the trail with a boost of energy! Finally the walkers joined the excitement around the track and volunteers worked rapidly to meet the demand for water bottles as participants passed by the refreshments tent on their laps.
As the race winded down, people make their way back over to the main facility for some crazy costume judging! The stage was filled with soloists, bands and auctioneers as people showed their support for the cause. “A stamp out to diabetes” raises cheer from the crowd!
As clean up began, many volunteers rushed about, dismantling tables, tents, chairs, stages and collecting trash, whilst in the parking lot the rest of the volunteers ushered cars safely back to the streets. The RRT gator quickly turned in to a life saver as it transported many of the elderly to their vehicles. As the parking lot became vacant, the RRT team exchanged their goodbyes to the coordinators and disembarked.