Ontario paramedic to start journey for diabetes 

Like Terry Fox before him, Ontario paramedic Mark Winegarden has decided to journey across Canada to raise money for his disease.

Instead of cancer, this time the disease is diabetes.

Winegarden and his three-person entourage, including his 12-year-old son Adam, will be in Whistler on Tuesday, April 16 for an overnight stay on their drive to their starting point.

The walking/biking tour will start on May 1 from Victoria at Mile Zero of the Trans Canada Trail. They plan to spend about 19 days in B.C. and to wrap up the tour in Newfoundland on Sept. 15 – a journey lasting four and a half months.

The journey is called the Diabetes DMC Tour 2002. The DMC stands for three main objective of the tour: to Diagnose diabetes early, to Manage it aggressively and to assist in finding a Cure.

The financial goal of the tour is to raise at least $1 for every Canadian. The primary beneficiaries will be the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Winegarden was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1998 when he was 37 years old. The message from specialists was loud and clear: get active and burn sugar!

As a paramedic of 10 years, he has seen the devastation of both the short-term diabetic emergencies and the long-term devastation of the disease.

It is estimated that by the year 2004, one in four adults may have diabetes. The disease is the leading cause of blindness in Canada. It affects over 2 million Canadians and is one of the leading causes of death by disease.

Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, is increasing in children and adults at an alarming rate.

For the past two years Winegarden has been a member of the Lions Club of Bradford, ON.

He is calling on the help of the Whistler Lions Club and any other sponsors in his quest to meet the financial goals of the tour. So far, the local Lions club has donated $250 and another $250 has been donated by Mountain Motors.

Anyone else wishing to sponsor the DMC tour can contact Ed Zinkevich at 604-938-9848.

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