Hometown Hero: Noah's March for Diabetes

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - If there is such a thing as a good reason for walking 4,000 miles, Noah Barnes had one.

"I really, really, really want a cure. That's what I want most," Barnes said.

The 10-year-old went the distance in an effort to help find one, walking across the country from Key West, FL to the Canadian border in the western corner of Washington State, to raise money and awareness for diabetes.

"Noah was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic when he was a little guy. He was 16 months old and he's lived with this for most of his life," his father said.

Two years ago, he decided he'd lived with it long enough.

"I didn't want to be a diabetic anymore, so I asked my mom and dad if I could stop being a diabetic and they said it doesn't work like that," Noah said.

Noah went to work - first, devising his cross-country advocacy, then selling his dad on letting him do it, which took some convincing.

"I was leaving for work one day and he's like, ''don't you want me to be cured?' I'm like what do you say to your kid?'

What Robert Barnes said was yes, and joined his son on his journey - that had an added twist.

"I met a guy while we were crossing in Tennessee and he was like, 'you know, no one's ever walked across and biked home,' Robert said.

That's what Noah and his dad did, taking 343 days to walk out and two months and a day to ride back.

"Here we are, Feb. 17, Tybee Island."

Although they're only here briefly, Noah is a WTOC Hometown Hero for what he did for people all across the country as well as this area.

"In Georgia specifically, 14.2 percent of the population has diabetes, and they're saying that 36 percent of the population is in the pre-diabetic state, so about 50 percent of the Georgia population is either diabetic or about to get diabetes in the next 10 years," Robert said.

Those numbers might change, thanks to Noah and his march.

Noah raised more than $40,000 for diabetes research and treatment and is still raising money at noahsmarchfoundation.org.

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