Ron Sherman on his daily 17,000-step walk for diabetes research. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Ron Sherman on his daily 17,000-step walk for diabetes research. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson high school vice-principal walking 400 km in September for diabetes research

Ron Sherman gets up at 5 a.m. every day and walks for two hours before work

Ron Sherman walked 17,000 steps today. And yesterday, and the day before that.

He is well on his way to his goal of walking 500,000 steps in the month of September.

“That’s (about) 1,300 steps a kilometre — almost two hours a day of walking at a fairly brisk pace,” Sherman says, taking a quick break from his morning walk for an interview on Fifth Street beside Queen Elizabeth Park at 7 a.m.

By that time he had already been walking nearly two hours and was on his way to his job as vice-principal of L.V. Rogers Secondary School.

Sherman’s morning walks are part of a national fundraiser, Lace Up to End Diabetes, organized by Diabetes Canada to raise research money for diabetes on the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by the Canadian doctors Frederick Banting and Charles Best.

Sherman says his closest connection to diabetes is his nephew in Cumberland, B.C., now in Grade 12, who has type 1 diabetes.

“He and my sister have needed to get up in the middle of the night, every night for his entire life, to check his blood sugar levels. He was one of the first recipients of an insulin pump (recent technology that helps manage diabetes). And lots of students that I’ve had, it’s really affected their lives, and lots of other people, you don’t have to scratch very hard to find diabetes.”

Walking long distances is nothing new to Sherman.

“I’m a walker anyway. In the first month of the pandemic, when schools went offline, and I had more time to walk, I walked 411,000 steps in April, and I thought that was a lot.”

Sherman obviously enjoys his long morning walks.

“It’s an amazing level of fitness. In 23 days, I’ve walked about 220 kilometres, just walking in the morning like this. It’s fresh air, it’s been beautiful weather, I get to listen to amazing podcasts. I get to collect my thoughts in the morning. I start my day having the hardest part of it done already.”

Walkers in the Lace Up to End Diabetes program log their time every day on the website, where there is a weekly leaderboard. As of Wednesday during the week of Sept. 20, Sherman was the national leader for the week, having logged five hours 33 minutes.

In type 1 diabetes the pancreas does not produce any insulin, a hormone that helps the body to control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is normally contracted in childhood and requires one or more injections of insulin per day.

Type 1 diabetes is life-threatening on a daily basis and there is no cure.

In type 2 diabetes (90 per cent of cases in Canada) the body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes. It is usually contracted in adulthood and can be controlled with medication, diet and exercise, but usually does not require daily insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is life-threatening over time because it can lead to complications such as stroke, amputation, kidney failure, and heart failure.

According to Diabetes Canada, every 24 hours more than 20 Canadians die of diabetes-related complications and 480 new cases are diagnosed.

Sherman sees a connection between the pandemic and diabetes research.

“What COVID had taught us now is that science works, research works. Sometimes all we need to do is do our part to raise some money and raise some awareness. Put the tools in the hands of the people that can find the solutions to these problems.”

Donations to Sherman’s campaign can be made at https://bit.ly/39yK2qG.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

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