Family goes on The Run for naturopathic medicine

Sure, you're passionate about natural health, but are you a 3,258-mile-run-across-America passionate? Meet the Godbys.

Last year, California's Naturopathic Doctor of the Year Dennis Godby, NMD, his two sons and nephew completed their cross country trek to spread awareness about naturopathic medicine. This year, they're doing The Run again with a new route that's north to south instead of west to east. 

These modern-day Forrest Gumps aren't just running for naturopathic medicine though, said Godby. They're aiming to create a national movement toward better health and wellness—leading by example.

It's the mission of The Run 2012: to spread the word about naturopathic medicine by mobilizing naturopaths at healthy community events across the country.

Although Godby will be sitting the majority of this year's route out, due to an injury, here he shares with us the inspiring stories of how The Run got started and how his sons are carrying on the legacy.

newhope360: What is the mission of The Run 2012?

Dennis Godby: Basically, we're talking about a new paradigm. One where we're thinking about lifestyle change and natural medicine instead of drugs and surgery. A new report shows that 1 out of 4 teenagers has prediabetes. It's gone up from a few years ago. Each individual doctor can't do enough in order to be able to meet the tidal wave. We really need to have a movement.

My son Jeremiah is an example. He was close to or in prediabetes stage and turned his life around. His brother Isaiah studies exercise, fitness and nutrition, and so they're both dedicated to fitness. But they're really the messengers. It's not so much about them running. They want to focus on getting the message of natural health out to the American people.

newhope360: How are your sons spreading the message of natural health during their run?

DG: There are 60 towns between both north and south journeys and naturopathic doctors along the way will be organizing, along with the West Coast associations, to put on events together. We want to make it a health event all up and down the West Coast. My sons decided to do an unsupported run, so they'll actually be running along with baby joggers [with the equipment inside] instead of a support vehicle.

newhope360: Why run for this cause?

DG: As I said, 23 percent of teenagers are now prediabetic. That's an emergency situation and an extreme situation so we thought we would metaphorically match the extremely urgent need with extremely long runs. We're not trying to raise the alarm bells in panic, but this is the time to prevent. And we're not preventing. If health practitioners just see patients but they aren't part of the movement, we'll be here until doomsday trying to help people and it's going to overwhelm us.

newhope360: Are you also targeting other kinds of health practitioners?

DG: Absolutely. I'm working to inspire other naturopathic doctors, medical doctors, chiropractors, people of good will... When I was running across the country last year I thought, "What's wrong with me? I'm getting too old for these kinds of things."

But what I realized was that, all professions are short on activists. For me, I'm not necessarily doing activism because I love doing it. I'm doing it because it has to be done. And if I don't do it, who's going to? And if not now, when?

Dr. Godby will be speaking at NPA MarketPlace on Friday, June 15 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Show Floor Theater on his experience in a session called "The Run: Moving Natural Medicine Forward."

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