President of the St. Kitts Diabetes Association, Nurse Christine Wattley, said Saturday’s Walk against Diabetes was its most successful, having attracted the largest number of participants, including Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, and Minister of State for Health Senator the Hon. Wendy Phipps, while offering a prayer of thanks at the end of the walk at the Cenotaph (War Memorial) in Fortlands.
Nurse Wattley said they were standing at an area with a monument “because diabetes is a monumental task, but we are stronger together” and thanked participants for advocating for diabetes by taking part in the walk, theme “Diabetes: Protect your Family.”
“We are going to continue to bless each and every one of you, and we just do not want you to think about the intervention today, but for the rest of our lives,” she said.
World Diabetes Day was observed on Thursday, Nov. 14, and the St. Kitts Diabetes Association marked it with a week of activities to intensify its public education campaign on diabetes. The week started on Sunday, Nov. 10 with a church service and ended Saturday Nov. 16 with a special event dubbed “Blue Gala Event — A Night of Hope,” according to the association’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Reginald O’Loughlin.
The participants, from all walks of life, assembled at the Cenotaph early in the morning Saturday and were led through a series of warm-up exercises by fitness guru Mr. Elston Nisbett following a prayer by Pastor Phillip Webbe. Setting off at 6:19 a.m., they walked along the Bay Road going all the way to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank roundabout and returned to the War Memorial.
“The walk was quite successful, bigger than it has ever been before with the Prime Minister and a number of government officials involved,” said Dr. O’Loughlin. “A number of organisations were represented including SKNYPA (St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association), Lions Club, and Rotary Club among others. We had a wheelchair-bound person who came to show her solidarity and support, as a living example as some of the things people face when they are challenged with this particular malady.”
The Ministry of Health was represented by Minister Wendy Phipps and Permanent Secretary Mrs. Deloris Stapleton-Harris. Six members represented the St. Kitts Basseterre Lions Club, including Treasurer Mrs. Isilma Hendricks, Second Vice President Ms. Bernadette Dolphin, and Past President Ms. Adora Warner.
A number of the participants joined the walk along the way, but Ms. Sheena Robinson and Mr. Glenville Maloney were the first who completed the entire course and returned to the War Memorial.
A prayer was offered by Pastor Anthony Evelyn after the participants returned, and they were addressed by fellow walk participant Prime Minister Harris, who is also the lead spokesperson for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS issues in the CARICOM’s Quasi Cabinet.