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Native American Leaders Set Out on Five Month, 5,000-Mile Walk From San Diego to Washington, DC to Raise Awareness of Diabetes Crisis

San Diego, CA – February 11, 2011 – On a day when most Americans are indulging in boxes of chocolates and receiving roses, Native American leaders from across the country will be joined by San Diegans and health advocates to lace up their walking shoes to kick off the California route of “The Longest Walk 3 Reversing Diabetes” — a five-month, 5,000-mile trek to raise awareness about the chronic illness.Participants will depart from La Jolla Shores, on February 14, 2011 — with stops at Indian Reservations throughout Southern California — with a goal of reaching the final destination of Washington, D.C. on July 8th, 2011. Some will walk only select legs of the journey while others hope to go the distance to Washington DC merging with other Longest Walk 3 routes in 14 other states along the way including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Virginia. Each day, they are scheduled to walk a total of 15 – 25 miles, or run 50 – 100 miles in relay teams, on a mission to educate adults and children about how diet and exercise can play a critical role in reversing diabetes and to help make a difference in the health and well being of future generations.

“The Barona Band of Mission Indians is extremely proud that we are able to help support ‘The Longest Walk 3’ and that members of our Tribe are taking an initiative to help coordinate this event,” said Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “The importance of nutrition and regular exercise is a message that we work to promote through our ongoing support of diabetes awareness programs. We want to do everything we can to enhance the health and well being of our people, young and old.”

“The Longest Walk 3 Reversing Diabetes” was created in 2009 by 75-year-old Dennis Banks, co-founder of the Native American Movement, who will also host this year’s event. Banks was once hospitalized as a result of serious diabetes complications but has reversed the disease as a result of a transformative diet and exercise program. He now works as an advocate to bring awareness to the issue and successful ways to reverse diabetes through diet and exercise.

“Diabetes is one of the most critical health issues facing Native Americans today,” said Bobby Wallace, an event organizer and member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “Our feet will likely be aching at the end of this walk but every step we take will bring us one step closer to eradicating diabetes among our fellow tribal members and others afflicted with the disease.”

For more information about the “Longest Walk 3 Reversing Diabetes,” please visit or


Audrey Doherty

Kelly Jacobs Speer