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Independence Blue Cross Signs on as Presenting Sponsor of American Diabetes Association's Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes in Philadelphia
Date:8/18/2008

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today announced that it is the presenting sponsor of the American Diabetes Association's (ADA's) Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes to be held in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 4, 2008.

The new family- and team-friendly 5K fundraising walk will support the ADA's aggressive efforts to stem the growing diabetes epidemic by funding ground-breaking research to find a cure and by actively supporting community outreach, education, and advocacy efforts. Philadelphia's Step Out is one of more than 180 walks planned across the nation this fall to raise more than $20 million to fight diabetes. The goal in Philadelphia is to raise more than $400,000.

"We're pleased to help improve the health of our members and others with diabetes by joining with our local American Diabetes Association as the presenting sponsor of Step Out in Philadelphia," said Joseph A. Frick, IBC's president and CEO. "Step Out is a great way to inspire all of us to make our health a priority, live a healthier lifestyle, understand our risk for diabetes and how to prevent it, as well as how to better manage diabetes once it's been diagnosed."

Everyone pays a price for diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most important health challenges facing the nation and the Philadelphia region. Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, including about six million who don't know they have it. Another 57 million are estimated to have pre-diabetes, an early warning signal that alerts people to quickly take steps to avoid getting diabetes, such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, and reducing stress.

Diabetes takes a devastating toll on the Philadelphia area. About 11 percent, or one in nine people here, have diabetes -- nearly three percent higher than the national average.

The seventh leading cause of death by disease in the U.S., diabetes may lead to serious, life-threatening, and costly complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and lower-limb amputation. Sadly, more than 284,000 Americans and approximately 12,000 Pennsylvanians die each year from complications like these.

Along with its human toll, diabetes is one of the nation's most costly diseases, estimated at more than $174 billion annually -- $116 billion in direct costs for medical expenditures and another $58 billion in indirect costs such as reduced productivity, disease-related disability, and increased absenteeism.

Presenting sponsor Independence Blue Cross

In a demonstration of their commitment to improve the health of the community, hundreds of IBC employees will participate in the walk. As the presenting sponsor, IBC is also urging its customers, members, participating hospitals, physicians, and other local businesses to Step Out by forming a corporate team of their own. The ADA anticipates more than 2,000 walkers will participate in Step Out, and raise funds to support of the association's mission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

"I would like to thank IBC for joining us in our fight against diabetes, one of the most common chronic illnesses in the Philadelphia region," said Russell Moore, ADA executive director of the southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey region. "Step Out is wonderful event for friends and coworkers to come together and help raise money for a good cause. Each walker and every dollar raised will bring us one step closer to a cure."

Join Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes

Here's what interested walkers need to know to join Step Out:

Date: Saturday, October 4, 2008.

Route: Begins and ends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Participants will walk through Center City and down the

Schuylkill River path, with the option of climbing

well-known staircases along the way.

Registration: Online at http://www.diabetes.org/stepout.

By phone 1-888-DIABETES.

Or in person day of event, beginning at 8 a.m.

Walk begins: At 9:30 a.m.

Activities: Health festival at Eakins Oval in front of the

Philadelphia Museum of Art will include free health

screenings and health information, entertainment, and

refreshments.

Fundraising: Anyone may walk. Participants are encouraged to wear

comfortable walking shoes at the event. Those who raise

$150 and above before the walk may pick up their ADA Step

Out T-shirts at the event registration table.

At Step Out October 4 and in the year-round fight against diabetes, the ADA and IBC are here for you every step of the way. Be a part of the cure, and start raising money today by registering for the Step Out walk at http://www:diabetes.org/stepout or by calling 1-888-DIABETES.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information, and advocacy. Founded in 1940, the association has offices in every region of the country providing services in more than 800 communities. In addition to the ADA's national Step Out, the American Diabetes Association also funds community-based education programs to improve the quality of life for all people living with diabetes. These programs include the Donovan McNabb Diabetes Summer Camp for Kids in Green Lane, Pennsylvania and the Diabetes Expo, which is held annually, free to the public, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. For more information, visit http://www.ibx.com.


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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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