STEPPING UP

Participants in the Step Up to Fight Diabetes promotion are in for a workout. Unlike other fund-raising walks, volunteers on Oct. 20 will be expected to climb 25 staircases along a professionally planned, 10-mile course through the city of Philadelphia. By the time they finish, walkers will have ascended 100 stories or 1,000 steps. For stair climbing, historic Philly can't be beat. Event planners

Participants in the Step Up to Fight Diabetes promotion are in for a workout. Unlike other fund-raising walks, volunteers on Oct. 20 will be expected to climb 25 staircases along a professionally planned, 10-mile course through the city of Philadelphia. By the time they finish, walkers will have ascended 100 stories or 1,000 steps.

For stair climbing, historic Philly can't be beat. Event planners selected Philadelphia because, among other things, it has a lot of staircases, including the famous “Rocky” stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (65 steps). The staircases at Philadelphia City Hall (152 steps), the Schuylkill River Path (63 steps) and Liberty Place (33 steps) are also on the route.

The goal is to recruit more than 1,000 volunteers and raise upwards of $1 million to support the American Diabetes Association's activities. In August, the ADA kicked off its 12-week training program on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Doctors and local politicians stressed the importance of the event in the fight against the disease, as well as the local toll: More than 21 million Americans have diabetes, with some 120,000 of them in the Philadelphia area.

By the ADA's calculations, 54 million people are on the verge of developing diabetes, making it the fastest-growing disease in the nation, and the fifth leading cause of death. If current trends continue, one out of every three children, and one out of every two minority children, will be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime, the ADA said.

To take part in the event, each volunteer must raise a minimum of $1,000. Organizers began holding a series of orientations around the city on Sept. 5. During those sessions, participants are asked to set their own personal training goals, which can be continued well after the event is over.

“Step Up to Fight Diabetes is well on its way to achieving the event goal of 1,000 participants,” said Brett Armstrong, ADA's manager of special events. “The weekly training events continue to grow in participation.”

Rite Aid Corp. is the national sponsor of the event.