The staff at Walgreens stores in New Lenox and Mokena know their customers as friends. That's why they're joining the American Diabetes Association's Walk to Stop Diabetes, beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 20, at Soldier Field in Chicago.
In a store where people come for prescriptions and to talk to the pharmacist, they gain more than a bottle of pills and directions on how best to take the medication. They gain friends—a lot of them.
It's an authentic relationship, said Walgreens managers from New Lenox's Schoolhouse store and Mokena's store on Wolf Road.
"The regular customers—those who come in three times a week or more—are not just faces; they're Barb, Mary Ann, Jose or Mike. These people come in my store, and I can't help but to care about them," said Karl Olsen, manager of the Mokena store.
Managers and service clerks are walking in the Walk to Stop Diabetes beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Soldier Field. Last year more than 400 Walgreens employees put their foot to the ground in Chicago to stomp out diabetes by raising funds for research through the American Diabetes Association. The 5K walk is slated to take place along the Lakefront.
While the corporate office put out a message suggesting participation, "our district decided to make it more personal," said Shawn McCarthy, manager at Walgreens store on Schoolhouse Road in New Lenox. The district is a total of 31 stores including Frankfort, Joliet, Shorewood and Channahon.
"We have customers that come in here for diabetic needs. You know they're going through something tough. I couldn't imagine having to give myself a shot every day. I just really feel for them.
"We see lots of customers affected by it. I have a grandmother that's affected by it," McCarthy said.
It gets personal because diabetes has impacted their families, too. Mokena's Peggy Wrestling, who works at the Wolf Road store, is walking on her day off to support family members with diabetes.
Her mother had diabetes. Her sister is diabetic as well as her brother in-law. Two of her nephews have been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.
"I'm walking for them," she said.
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