Perry County Diabetes Coalition Walks 33,000 Miles

MEDIA CONTACT: Beth Bowling,, 606-439-3557

Hazard, Ky. (June 22, 2017) - Perry County has one of the nation’s highest rates of diabetes.  Last fall a group of community partners in Perry County came together to establish a diabetes coalition to unite the local community to support education and services to improve health outcomes.  The group received a grant from the Appalachian Diabetes Control and Translation Project to further establish the Perry County Diabetes Coalition. 

“Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects many of us and our families and friends.  Fortunately, diabetes can be managed and sometimes even prevented with a healthy lifestyle.  We are excited about having a local diabetes coalition that can have a positive impact,” said Fran Feltner, director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health

Because increased physical activity is known to improve overall health, the newly formed Perry County Diabetes Coalition called upon area employers earlier this spring and invited them to form walking teams at their places of employment and join a walking challenge.  Participants were also invited to become members of this important new diabetes coalition. 

During the 11-week walking event, 145 people joined the challenge.  They are known as the Perry County Pacers and they have collectively walked more than 67 million steps!  That works out to around 33,000 miles, or nearly a trip-and-a-half around the globe!

Walkers and their employers were recognized during the Perry County Fair for their efforts to increase physical activity and build awareness about diabetes and the new coalition.  All participants received a Perry County Pacers t-shirt.  An awards celebration is planned for later this summer to recognize the top walkers and winning team. 

The Perry County Diabetes Coalition is for anyone who has diabetes or wants to prevent it.  It is also for healthcare providers, family members, friends and others in the community who are concerned about the prevention and management of diabetes and want to make a difference.   The coalition can connect participants to resources, education and evidence-based programs.  

The Perry County Diabetes Coalition is open to new members. “We need community partners from diverse sectors of our area to join the Perry County Diabetes Coalition,” said Alice Caudill, education coordinator at Kentucky River District Health Department.  “It takes everyone to promote and continue good policies, as well as to begin new health education programs that support healthy choices and good health care in order to prevent chronic diseases as diabetes,” Caudill said.

“We are very appreciative of the support and buy-in we have had from community partners, health providers, school systems, local government and also the local chapter of the United Way, who serves as the fiscal agent for the grant.  We are looking forward to growing and doing more as a coalition in the coming months,” added Feltner.

Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month, at noon, at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, 750 Morton Blvd., Hazard, Ky.

 For more information contact Keisha Hudson at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health at 606-439-557 or email


Photo:  Twelve members of the Perry County Diabetes Coalition represented the 145 Perry Countians who walked in the Perry County Pacers walking challenge.   The group was recognized on the main stage during the Perry County Fair for their efforts to increase physical activity and build awareness about the new diabetes coalition.  A larger celebration is planned for all 145 walkers later this summer.

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