African American Male Wellness Walk/Run 5k

Written/Photography by Andrew Livelsberger


Founded in 2004, the African American Male Wellness Initiative was started to help empower men to live longer through preventative measures. 


Waking up early, I targeted covering the event from 7:30 am on.  The run/walk was scheduled to start around 9:30am.  Driving down, the sun was shining and all looked well.   I found my parking spot and started walking to Livingston Park next to Nationwide Children’s Hospital when the rain started.

like everyone, we tried to wait out the rain.

And it just never really let up.  I was a little disappointed as I would not get the kind of pictures that I had hoped…but then, I needed to remember that this whole Visual Ohio thing is not just about the pictures.  It’s about the story.  The pictures only support the story,and what a great story this is!

I first heard about this event from one of my doctors.   For those that may not know, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes on May 3, 2016.   I was not feeling well and suspected this might be the case.  Diabetes runs in my family, so it was no surprise.  It was however, something that I had hoped to be able to prevent.  I thought I was doing all I could, but that was just not so.

Like many, I started the recommended course of treatment.  Different medicines and lifestyle changes.  I wanted to fight this with everything I had available to me, so I requested that my family physician refer me to an endocrinology specialist.  It was that endocrinology specialist, along with my family doctor that helped me get to where I am today.

I went from taking 4 different medications daily, to taking none at all.  I walk or run between 3-5 miles daily and I watch my sugar and carbohydrate intake carefully.  For a year and a half now I’ve been controlling my diabetes with diet and exercise.  I might get more into my personal story later…that’s really not what this is about…so let’s digress to the true story here!  😀

I did not stay long enough to cover the start of the race, but I did walk around the event space.  Found some interesting characters, like this guy!

Prevention is the key and this event really has that.   Once you register, volunteers help direct you to the screenings and vendors that can help you the most.  I did not get pictures of that kind of thing because I want to respect peoples privacy, so please just take my word for it.

The lines were long, but you could get just about any check you could think of.  Cholesterol, glucose, HIV, height, weight….getting those critical numbers so that you can head off any potential issues earlier.

volunteers provide table massages

Education is also a great way to help prevent issues.  There were plenty of vendors and hospital staff there to educate you on things that you may not have known about, or help guide you to a healthy path.

I’ve been to events like this in the past, but I’ve never seen one that was so inclusive and expansive on the services and education they provide.  I can see why people are taking notice of this event.  It is really a bright spot in the community…everyone there helping others be the best self they can be.

We often say that Ohio is one of the greatest places to live.  It is one of those great places because it is built on a strong foundation.  Columbus is one of those foundational pillars, doing great things for those that need it most, bring the help to them when they cannot get to it easily themselves.

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