WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of determined people took a step forward to help stop diabetes. The disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in Hawaii. John Henry Felix and Mufi Hannemann got participants fired up at the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes on Saturday morning.
"It's an opportunity for us to step up and do more about it, raise monies, spread the awareness, inform people that they can live with diabetes," said honorary chair Mufi Hannemann.
"It's a serious disease here in Hawaii. It affects 113,000 people who have diabetes. 28,000 do not know that they do have it," said Leslie Lam of the American Diabetes Association.
An estimated 3,500 people walked more than two miles around Kapiolani Park. Hannemann has been an honorary chair for nine years.
"One out of every three children born in America will have it. In Hawaii, it's one out of every two. So these statistics are very daunting, but we can live with diabetes, we can manage it, and we're trying to find a cure for diabetes today," said Hannemann.
If untreated, Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form, can cause result in blindness, heart disease and kidney failure.
"If your family members have diabetes, if it's hereditary, please be extra cautious. Native Hawaiians here in Hawaii, Japanese and Filipino are at high risk," said Lam.
Organizers say prevention if key. They hope participants will pick up healthy habits, such as eating right and getting lots of exercise.
"We want them to get out and be active, incorporate exercise into their daily lifestyle, and know the key issues. Know the warning signs," said Lam.
The goal was to raise $535,000. The funds will be used in Hawaii for education, research and services.