Man Walks 3,000 Miles Across the United States to Raise Awareness for Diabetes

The Last Mile of 'Forest Gump-esque' Journey to Culminate May 31 in Welcome

Gala in Atlantic City with Miss America Nicole Johnson

Apr 19, 1999, 01:00 ET from MiniMed, Inc.

    NEW YORK, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Bob Scheidt -- athlete, father,
 house-painter, activist and a man living with Type 1 (insulin dependent)
 diabetes -- begins the last leg of his walk across America this week, stopping
 at towns large and small, as well as all the Indian reservations in his path,
 to raise awareness of diabetes, a disease that kills one person every three
 minutes.  Scheidt's message -- that one can achieve one's dreams in spite of
 the disease -- is inspiring.
     "I am a warrior in the fight against diabetes," Scheidt recently told his
 audience of mostly native Americans, "and this walking stick is my spear.  I
 will walk across this great nation to prove that you don't have to surrender
 your hopes and dreams if you are diagnosed with diabetes."
     "We at MiniMed are very proud to be helping sponsor Bob Scheidt's Walk
 Across America," said Al Mann, founder of the company that manufactures
 Scheidt's insulin pump.  "He is bringing into the public perception the
 challenges of a disease that are so often misunderstood.  It is true that with
 the right attitude, along with the advancements afforded by medical
 technology, people with diabetes can not only strive after, but also achieve
 their dreams."
     Scheidt began his walk in 1997, starting from Seattle and taking the
 winters off to work and avoid bad weather.  He is scheduled to reach the
 Atlantic Ocean on Memorial Day, May 31 of this year, where Miss America 1999,
 Nicole Johnson, who also is living with Type 1 diabetes and wears an insulin
 pump, will meet him for the historic finish.
     Scheidt's athletic accomplishments are impressive even for someone in
 perfect health.  A long-distance race walker, he has walked and run a total of
 55,000 miles, enough to circle the globe twice.  He has been able to attain
 these personal goals in spite of being diagnosed early on with a chronic
 illness.  When Scheidt was diagnosed at age 17 with Type 1 (insulin dependent)
 diabetes, doctors told him to give up his dreams of being an athlete, as well
 as any thoughts of an active lifestyle.
     "I was told that I couldn't run anymore, I couldn't backpack, and that I
 should just sit back and take it easy ... I decided early I wasn't going to
 let it slow me down."
     Like Miss America, Scheidt chose to treat his diabetes with a "MiniMed,"
 an insulin pump that replaces the four to six shots a day he used previously.
 The device is manufactured by a California-based company, MiniMed, Inc., that
 has as its goal the development of an entirely automatic, artificial pancreas.
     Now, instead of stopping every few hours for a shot, Scheidt has a steady
 supply of insulin delivered around the clock.  Scheidt does have to test his
 blood sugar at least four times a day, but finger sticks are much easier and
 less painful than injections.
     Instead of "taking it easy," Scheidt's regime has made possible 50-mile
 "ultra marathons," as well as walking across his home state of Pennsylvania --
 twice -- to raise money for diabetes.  He has also walked across Virginia and
 West Virginia for the same purpose.
     Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in America, and the leading
 cause of blindness, amputations, and kidney failure.  Approximately 16 million
 Americans have the disease.
     MiniMed, the maker of the insulin pump, is helping to sponsor Scheidt's
 walk and his schedule of events can be found on their website at
     Scheidt is available for speaking engagements along the route of his walk.
 If you'd like him to speak to your school, club or group, contact DeNetta
 Elmo, (800) 933-3322.  Media interested in interviewing Bob should call Lisa
 Warden, (800) 600-7111 x 236.
     Mr. Scheidt will be visiting the following cities on the following days
 during the last leg of his walk:
     Date                                City
     Wednesday, April 21                 Ann Arbor, MI
     Friday, April 23                    Toledo, OH
     Friday, April 30                    Cleveland, OH
     Monday, May 3                       Youngstown, OH
     Wednesday, May 12                   Altoona, PA
     Friday, May 14                      State College, PA
     Saturday, May 22                    Kutztown, PA
     Tuesday, May 25                     Delaware Canal Towpath.
                                         Washington Crossing State Park
     Thursday, May 27                    Chatsworth, NJ
     Saturday, May 29                    Pamona, NJ
     Monday, May 31                      Atlantic City, NJ

SOURCE MiniMed, Inc.