Making Strides

Annual 5K expands its reach and continues to offer diabetes education

Jackie Jones with event participantsJacqueline “Jackie” Jones continues to stay on pace with educating the public about the health effects of diabetes. Every year, she organizes the  Emancipation Day 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Walk, an idea she developed with her diabetes support group. The annual event takes place in September at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Laurel and benefits the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology.

A patient of the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus and a diabetic herself, Jackie understands the impact that the disease has on a person’s life. As a retired educator, she wants to teach others about diabetes prevention and care. “I feel that it’s my purpose to raise awareness,” she says. “This is what the run and walk does. It’s a good health initiative and gets people out moving.”

Picture: Jackie Jones, second from the right, with race participants at the 2015 event.

In 2016, Jackie took her mission one step further. She asked the city of Laurel to make the 3.1-mile loop the town’s “official” 5K route. City officials complied and in the spring unveiled permanent signage to mark the course. “We are very excited about this because it goes beyond the 5K itself,” Jackie explains. “People can go out and just walk the course for fun and fitness.”

Crossing the finish line Originally, Jackie knew nothing about organizing a 5K run and today, she is amazed at its progress. Not only does the annual event provide education to the public and funding to the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, it also formed ripple effect that benefits the greater community.

“A lot of people sign up for or volunteer at the event because they know people with diabetes or they are diabetic,” she says. “The fact that interest in the 5K for diabetes is gaining momentum and the city of Laurel supports the event is very exciting. That’s what keeps me going.”

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