SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alcatraz to San Francisco Freestyle


November 23, 2011

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Three Ketchikan Indian Community members recently took the plunge October 17th when they swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco.  The approximate 1.4 mile swim was part of an educational and experiential San Francisco-based Alcatraz swim program sponsored by Path Star which is a non-profit organization committed to inspiring and revitalizing sustainable health and well-being practices within the Native American community.

jpg KIC Tribal Health Clinic Nurse Ruth Pechay (center), in the background is her daughter Anita Pechay-Seludo (slightly submerged)

KIC Tribal Health Clinic Nurse Ruth Pechay (center), in the background is her daughter Anita Pechay-Seludo (slightly submerged)
Photo Credit:  Unknown , Photo Courtesy KIC

Ruth Pechay and Bill Hardy of Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Health Clinic and Anita Pechay-Seludo, Ruth’s daughter, were the first Alaska Tribe members to participate in the event which has been held for the last nine years.

Ruth Pechay, 36, in her statement to PathStar wrote that her journey to Alcatraz would help her Native community better their health. Pechay said she wants to be a role model for her children, family, friends and community and to help them know that diabetes can be prevented.

After conquering the Alcatraz swim and learning a new life style, Pechay said she wants to share what she has learned with her family, friends, and community. Pechay wrote, "I’d like to show them, if I can DO IT, they can DO IT! Anyone can wake up and decide to make their lives better."

Anitamarie Pechay-Seludo, 19, in her statement to PathStar said that when she heard about the Alcatraz Swim it was definitely a big chllenge that would push her to another level of success, not for just herself but for her family also. "This will challenge me and motivate me into staying in shape and to keep living a healthier lifestyle. Attending to this challenge would make me not just a better person but also motivate me down a better positive path and achieve my goals and motivate teens and adults around my community," said Pechay-Seludo.

Bill Hardy, 61, in his statement to PathStar said he would like to bring the experience back home to apply in his own life on a continuing basis, for self motivation, and to motivate others in his role as medical social worker for the Ketchikan Indian Tribal Health clinic and the diabetes team. "Finally, I would like to challenge my own family members who have diabetes and for those who do not to maintain their health," said Hardy.

Each day for a week everyone in the group started and ended their day with a swim. In between swims, the 12 member group from the Pine Ridge in South Dakota, the Colville Tribe in Washington and Ketchikan Indian Community in Alaska participated in lifestyle coaching, nutritional education, and other activities that emphasized a healthy diet and exercise using whole foods, organically grown vegetables and lifestyle changes. The goal for the participants was to bring this knowledge back to their local communities along with their inspiration to Ketchikan Indian Community tribal members. A goal of constructing a community greenhouse in Ketchikan was suggested by Ruth Pechay. 

Sixteen meetings lasting 16-24 weeks are being held now at KIC for the first group of participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program. The next session will start mid-spring with up to twelve participants. 

Nearly 17 percent of Alaska Natives and American Indians have the highest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups.  Indians are twice as likely to die from complications of diabetes as non-Indians.

Using funding from two separate grants Ketchikan Indian Community Diabetes Prevention Program is using a two-pronged approach:  prevention and treatment of those already suffering from diabetes. 

A blood test can determine if you are pre-diabetic.  Those that are pre-diabetic can prevent its onset with lifestyle changes and a commitment to a healthy diet with moderate exercise. Enrollment in the next session of classes is encouraged by the Diabetic Prevention Program Team.

KIC members can get more information by calling the Diabetes Prevention Program at 228-9428.


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Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News & Photo: 

Ketchikan Indian Community


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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