Palo Christi students participate in diabetes walk

Beth Mathe, left, physical education teacher, leads students, teachers and parents out Tuesday from Palo Christi Elementary School on the “Walk for Diabetes.” Participants made about a one-mile roundtrip to White Cliffs Middle School. Photo: TERRY ORGAN/Miner

Beth Mathe, left, physical education teacher, leads students, teachers and parents out Tuesday from Palo Christi Elementary School on the “Walk for Diabetes.” Participants made about a one-mile roundtrip to White Cliffs Middle School. Photo: TERRY ORGAN/Miner

KINGMAN - Roughly 250 children, teachers and some parents came out the front door of Palo Christi Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon and headed on foot for White Cliffs Middle School on Grandview Avenue.

The approximately one-mile roundtrip constituted the Walk for Diabetes. Students solicited pledges where possible from relatives and friends, money that is to be sent off Monday to the Phoenix chapter of the American Diabetes Association, said Beth Mathe, physical education teacher at Palo Christi and coordinator of the local walk.

"The kids made the choice to pledge or not to pledge," Mathe said. "I just told them to do what they could. If they raise money, that's great, and if they don't, we understand."

The school received a mailing about the Walk for Diabetes. Mathe and school Principal Steve Hite discussed it and decided to proceed with one.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, according to the ADA Web site. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.

The cause of diabetes is not known, although genetic and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise are believed to play roles in its development.

Roughly 20.8 million Americans, about 7 percent of the population, have diabetes. Research for a cure is ongoing. The fund-raising goal for Palo Christi was set at $1,000, Mathe said.

Susan Brace was among the participants Tuesday. She walked with Michael Brace, her grandson and a fourth-grader.

"I'm here to support the cause," she said. "Michael raised $53 and I want to be here as his mom had to work."

Brace said her father suffered from diabetes.

Andrea Sewell walked with her son Colton, a third-grader.

She has no friends or relatives afflicted with diabetes, but wanted to participate.

"This is good exercise," she said. "It will help fight diabetes and I want to be in shape toward that end."

The group departed from Palo Christi at 1:15 p.m. and returned in time for children to catch buses home at 2:10 p.m.