Doctor plans decathlon no. 4 to fight diabetes

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

Dr. Tim Hindmarsh is still tired of seeing Americans eating and loafing themselves to disease and death.

So he’s taking his Act Alive Decathlon to a new level this year, with a big emphasis on public participation.

Hindmarsh first completed the 10-event action sports challenge on his 40th birthday, in 2005. This year, on Saturday, June 28, Hindmarsh plans to windsurf in the Columbia Gorge, downhill ski, snowboard, wakeboard, waterski barefoot, slalom waterski, ride motocross, jump out of a plane with his skydiving partners, lead a 14-mile bicycle ride from Sweet Home to Lebanon and run a 5K race as part of the fourth annual Act Alive Decathlon.

Hindmarsh, a Samaritan physician at Sweet Home Family Medicine, is doing the decathlon to raise money for diabetes education in east Linn County.

He’s doing it to call attention to the fact that, although more than 21 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, the disease is treatable – and in some cases, curable – with diet, exercise and education.

“It’s amazing how great the need is for education,” Hindmarsh said. “I’m blown away that there’s no national movement to do this.”

Generally speaking, he noted, type 2 diabetes is a result of overeating and lack of exercise.

“There are 3 1/2 million women in the United States who have had breast cancer,” he said. “If you went to them and said that if you exercise 20 minutes a day and change your eating habits, you’ll be cured, what do you think would happen?

“We have to change the whole way we look at how we’re living our lives.”

Hindmarsh said that high blood sugar, a result of diabetes, is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke.

“We don’t do anything as a culture,” he said. “The fact of the matter is most of our medical problems, at least the big killesr, are lifestyle-based. According to 2006 Nielsen data, we Americans watch an average of 4 1/2 hours of TV a day.

He said the number of Americans who actually have diabetes may be much higher than the total who have been diagnosed, since the condition may not be evident until a medical checkup reveals it.

“We may have the equivalent of the entire state of California who are diabetic,” Hindmarsh said.

In its first three years, Act Alive has raised $16,000. The Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation uses the money to offer diabetes education scholarships to uninsured patients enabling them to attend diabetes-related classes at the hospital.

Participation is up this year and Hindmarsh is looking for more. He said he’ll be joined by an editor from Windsurfing magazine in the Columbia Gorge, and is inviting local residents to ride with him eto Lebanon and/or run a competitive 5K race, which anyone can join for $15.

The 5K race/walk will be free of charge, as will the bicycle ride.

Also new is the Act Alive Fun Fair, which will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. across the street from Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, next to Pioneer Elementary School. There is no admission fee for the fair, which will include a marimba band and fun activities (inflatable obstacle courses) for youngsters, as well as snacks and concessions for sale by local vendors.

After the bike ride, Hindmarsh will go 8,000 feet up for some fresh air, then skydive onto the festival grounds. A handful of friends will join him, including Dr. Randy McCoy.

To sponsor Act Alive, call the foundation at 451-6303.

Act Alive is sponsored in part by Wal-Mart, Saving Money – Living Better, and Becky Pape, CEO of Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital.

For more information on Act Alive, visit