Melissa Williams is the self-described “fat kid who couldn’t run a mile.” It’s easy to look at that statement and think that she’s being much too hard on herself, but it’s a realistic look inward that may have eventually saved her life.
After a lifetime of being technically obese, this 24-year-old Californian is walking 750 miles across the state -- from San Diego to Sacramento -- to raise awareness on the risks of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of the disease, where the body is unable to really break down sugars for fuel. When that happens, frightening complications can occur that may affect a person’s eyes, feet and skin. Shockingly, nearly 6-million people in the U.S. have this disease and don't know it.
Melissa is touching as many lives as possible through wellness workshops delivered in middle and junior high schools. She is additionally promoting healthier living through diet and exercise, and demonstrating the ways you can actually help prevent this disease by taking better care of your body.
Reaching out to teenagers and getting them to engage in healthier habits will, she hopes, leave a life-long imprint on them.
With 57 million Americans at risk for type 2 diabetes, current trends show one-in-five people are at risk for getting this disease. For kids, Melissa estimates that the risk is even higher. According to her, one-in-three children born in the year 2000 will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the next 40 years!
Although Melissa is delivering some hard facts for kids and the adults in their life to consider as she moves up the coast, she is also leaving behind the hope and understanding with these kids that 95% of diabetes is preventable.
Tuesday, March 23rd is American Diabetes Association Alert Day. KooDooZ is encouraging kids to get their parents to take a simple test to determine their family's risk of having pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Already on Day 70 of her walk, Melissa’s CA Wellness program has touched thousands of lives. To learn more, check out Melissa's website and blog, follow her on Twitter @cawellnesswalk, and join the CA Wellness Walk on Facebook. More importantly, listen to Melissa explain the risks you might potentially face through the body choices you make in your daily lives.