Rome woman walks 12,000 miles in diabetes battle

Rome woman walks 12,000 miles in diabetes battle

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Gaynell Tucker of Rome was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 17 years ago.  She started walking, and just completed her 12,000th mile to fight the disease. Gaynell Tucker of Rome was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 17 years ago. She started walking, and just completed her 12,000th mile to fight the disease.
ROME, Ga. -

Gaynell Tucker of Rome was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 17 years ago, when she says she was overweight and rarely exercised.  Since then, she's made some big changes and taken control.  In fact, you could call her a one-woman walking machine, with her own campaign to beat diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes.
            
Tucker, 82, admits she loves to shop, but on the day FOX 5 caught up with her, that's not why she was at the mall.  Instead, she was wrapping up a 12,000-mile walk.  And no, that's not a typo.

She's an avid walker now, but that wasn't always the case.  In 1995, though, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and her doctor warned her that if she didn't change her ways, she'd end up on insulin.

So, Tucker started walking, and she's been keeping a log of her walks ever since.  She walks two miles a day, six days a week, and those efforts are paying off big time.   She's lost 50 pounds and made headlines—all without ever having insulin shots.  

"When you walk you activate the pancreas to produce more insulin," she explained.  "In fact, if I don't get to walk, my blood sugar shows me that I didn't walk, and walking is my insulin, to tell you the truth."

As she closed in on 12,000 miles, her husband Max and twin sister Gaylia, along with her husband Luke, were right there by her side.  Her sister told FOX 5 she's Tucker's number one fan, and as she finished her final lap, there were cheers all around.  

"I feel good, I feel good," Tucker said.  "I have accomplished my goal."

Diabetes runs in Tucker's family.  She tells us her mom died from the disease, and her sister also has it, but she works hard to keep it under control.  Gaynell says she plans to keep on walking and marking the milestones, one step at a time. She hopes others will follow her lead.

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