Lethbridge man Bubba Vermette is walking to Taber and back, twice, in an effort to raise money and awareness for diabetes.
The 43-year-old was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes nine years ago, and he didn’t take the news so well.
“If I wanted extra fries or burger… with supper… I would just take more insulin, and before I knew it I was over 300 pounds and my life was just not a life,” he said. “I was just getting by, I wasn’t living. I knew I had to make a change.”
READ MORE: Bubba’s Journey
That change was losing 125 pounds. Now he is almost half the man he once was, and he is hoping to inspire others. He’s on his fourth walk to raise awareness and money for diabetes. He goes between Lethbridge and Taber twice, a total of 100 kilometres.
“I was so nervous this morning that I threw up… I’m good now, (because) when I walk I’m in the zone.”
He’s one of over 300,000 Albertans living with diabetes. In 2026, that number is expected to be over 450,000. It’s an alarming stat to registered nurse Jane Cresswell, who helps people live with the disease everyday.
“It’s always a concern and the rising rates of obesity and things like that are only going to cause that to be…continued to be higher,” she said.
Cresswell says diabetes can go undiagnosed for a long time. It can sometimes take a serious side effect to appear, like a heart attack, loss of vision or even amputation.
To help with early diagnosis, she suggests annual screenings.
“I think people are aware of diabetes but I think the recognition and early prevention is where work needs to happen, we are really good at treating it, but there can be more for prevention,” Cresswell said.
Vermette hopes walks like his will help.
“There is always hope, there is always that first step out the door. I wish that everyone could feel the way I am feeling right now. It’s a very uplifting feeling to be out here,” he said.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.