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[IP] pumper hiking 2,168 miles

Insulin-Pump Wearing Diabetic Hiking 2,168 Miles of Appalachian Trail To 
Raise Funds for Diabetes Screenings

ATLANTA, June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Joe Gondolfo, 56, known as the Diabetic 
Hiker, will hike the 2,168 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to 
Georgia (starting July 6) to demonstrate that health limitations can be 
overcome and to raise $100,000 for free diabetes screenings. 

Gondolfo, a leading Atlanta business executive, plans to up-link audio and 
video reports on his progress to his Web site, www.diabetichiker.com , which 
also links to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Web site for those who 
want to contribute to his goal.  Gondolfo is the first individual for whom 
the ADA has established such a link. 

"I've trained for this hike, mentally and physically, have an incredible 
support system in my family and friends and I firmly believe in the cause 
that can benefit from my achievement," says Gondolfo.  "All people -- 
diabetics included -- should realize that life doesn't stop with diagnosis.  
My experience will serve as a clear demonstration that health limitations can 
be overcome with the right attitude and ambition." 

"Awareness is a critical factor in reigning in the diabetes epidemic that is 
sweeping this country," says Claudia Zevallos, district director at ADA. 
"Through Joe's www.diabetichiker.com site and his fundraising goal, he is 
helping to raise the level of consciousness about diabetes and at the same 
time helping people understand that diabetes can be effectively managed if 

The hike does pose health risks for Gondolfo, who has worn a pre-programmed 
insulin pump for 4-years to help manage his diabetes.  It is anticipated that 
Gondolfo is the first "pump-wearing" diabetic to through-hike the Trail.  To 
minimize health risks associated with the hike, he has consulted with his 
doctors and he will carry extra medical supplies. Gondolfo, hiking with a 
family friend, will carry all of his own supplies to eat, sleep and live out 
on the Trail. 

Gondolfo will hike from the northern point in Baxter State Park, Maine and 
anticipates finishing in 5 1/2 months by hiking approximately 15 miles a day. 
He has about 5 rest days built into the trip plus partial rest days when he 
will visit selected towns along the Trail including: Gorham and Hanover, 
N.H.; Manchester Center, Vt.; Salisbury, Conn.; Delaware Water Gap and 
Duncannon, Pa.; Hagerstown, Md.; Harpers Ferry, W. Va.; Waynesboro and 
Damascus, Va.; Hot Springs, N.C.; and Springer Mountain and Atlanta, Ga. 

Gondolfo is senior vice president of real estate and a partner in RTM 
Restaurant Group which operates restaurants including Arby's Roast Beef, 
Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, Mrs. Winner's Chicken and Biscuits, Del Taco and 
T. J. Cinnamons Restaurants. 

"RTM encourages all its employees to dream big and make a difference," said 
Russ Umphenour, president of RTM.  "Joe Gondolfo epitomizes these values and 
continues to challenge himself to live them each and every day." Visit 
www.diabetichiker.com to track Gondolfo's progress. 
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