Hattiesburg Residents Walk to Fight Diabetes

Hundreds of South Mississippians spent part of this afternoon helping to fight Diabetes.

They took part in the annual, Mississippi Walk for Diabetes at the Long Leaf Trace walking trail next to the University of Southern Mississippi campus.

It's the first year for the event on the walking trail.

In past years, it was held at Hattiesburg's Kamper Park.

Participants walked either a three-mile or a one-mile stretch of the trail.

It was all being done to raise funds to fight Diabetes, which affects more than 300,000 Mississippians.

"The incidence of blindness is 25 times more common in diabetics than in non-diabetics," said Dr. Jaime Jimenez, a Hattiesburg eye surgeon and chairman of this year's Walk for Diabetes.

"So, it really affects every organ of the body, particularly the eyes," Dr. Jimenez said.

"The money that we raise here, 100% stays in Mississippi," said Irena McClain, Associate Director of the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi.

"It goes to fund our programs and services and one of the biggest programs we have is our Patient Assistance Program, and about one-quarter of our calls now are coming from the Pine Belt area," McClain said.

The event raised about $30,000 to fight Diabetes.