The sun is just beginning to rise over the glassy water at San Francisco’s aquatic park. Karen Wapato is beaming as she emerges from the Bay and peels off her goggles.
“It was better than yesterday,” she says. “I keep on just telling myself, stay calm don’t panic, keep breathing, try to keep my stroke real smooth as smooth as I can,” she says as she catches her breath.
Wapato has never swum in the ocean before, and it’s her second day swimming in the San Francisco Bay.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Close to 19 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease, and of those diagnosed, 5 million are African American.
Native Americans are also being devastated by diabetes, but communities are taking steps to fight the disease in ways unique to their cultural traditions. Many realize their health is directly tied to the choices they make in life. Like at the grocery store, where the choice between broccoli and biscuits can ultimately mean the difference between life and death.