If You Build It…
David once asked me what I believed were important attributes in a CEO. Topping my list were qualities like visionary, operationally minded, strategist, mission oriented, people centric, inspirational. Because he is brilliant, hilarious and a word smith, I threw those in there too (hoping for brownie points on my performance review). WWAD’s founder is all of those things (shamefully sucking up), and above all else, humble and generous. On a daily basis, he deflects compliments and insist that the Walk exists because of everyone else. In fact, the only time he has come across remotely big-headed is when he is referring to his first year as a cardiologist (pre-Walk). He thought he had a gift for encouraging people to take steps for their health via the spoken word. Within a year, after his patients started to return for their annual follow-ups, he realized he was dead wrong. So what did he do? He talked to his wife (she’s incredible by the way), his practice manager (the Walk is in her debt), and his nurse (she’s a saint too) and decided to invite his patients to join him on a morning walk. The Walk was born when over 100 people showed up. For 5 years the Walk was developed and refined as a grassroots movement in Columbus, OH. In 2009, the program became a national movement as others joined the effort to reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle by offering health education while walking! With that, let me pause to say happy 5 year anniversary Stratego Team (Miami, FL), Dr. James London (Ocala, FL) and Dr. Andrew Freeman (Denver, CO). With 2015 underway, there are over 153 Walk Chapters in 36 states and 5 countries, and we know this is only the beginning. David will insist that I take his picture off the homepage. He’ll probably want to replace this piece with his own tribute to all the walk leaders and walkers throughout the globe. Good thing I haven’t given him access to edit the website. I think I’ll run with this for a while. It’s absolutely true that the Walk wouldn’t be what it is today without all of you – Walk champions and advocates, walkers and health promoters. But the Walk wouldn’t exist without our inspirational, altruistic, visionary Dr. David Sabgir. Join me in honoring David and thanking him for believing, “If I build it, they will come…”
Send your thoughts (pictures too) of gratitude, good humor or congratulations via Twitter or Facebook or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And thank you, truly, for being a part of the WWAD family!
Thank You David…
Dick and Joyce Sabgir (Proud Parents)
Reva Foy (Practice Manager referenced above; Board Member Extraordinaire)
It was a privilege to be the recipient of his “frustrated rant” that he knew what his patients needed was exercise and what he needed a way to prescribe it for them. His desire to change the world has benefited so many!
Dr. Andrew Freeman (Walk Champion Denver, CO)
When I read about Walk with a Doc in a magazine 6 years ago, thoughts ran through my head prompting to think that this program was really impactful and powerful. I wasn’t really sure if I would ever do it or be able to do it. When I finally laid roots in Denver and started here, I knew I had to do more for my patients and my community. I quickly called Walk with a Doc and spoke with David Sabgir, the founder. I was excited and ready to begin….I had high hopes, lots of energy, and put months into planning and organizing. When I launched it, I was relieved to have 10 people show up. Now, through continued help of my volunteers, David’s support and enthusiasm, and nearly 60 walks later, I am please to say I now have anywhere from 75 to 150 at nearly every walk AND 5 walks in the Denver metro area which I help to coordinate through my equally energetic peers. Walk with a Doc literally changed my focus and career. It enabled me to do more for my patients and the public than I ever could have done in my office alone. It energized me to make my own lifestyle changes and to literally walk the walk. Without Walk with a Doc, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Hugh Jones (“You’re the Top” (Cole Porter) Board Member)
David’s vision for improving the health of his patients that lead to the development of WWAD is a shining light of untainted altruism in an industry too often accused of putting economics and provider interests first. It has been an honor to “walk” with David on his journey to change this reality for patients across the country and to reconnect physicians with the passion that brought them to their caring profession.
Catherine August (Kansas Walk Governor)
Since our first introduction to WWAD via the National Recreation and Park Association’s webinar in 2012?, I have been so impressed with the dedication and passion Dr. David Sabgir exudes. His enthusiasm and commitment to create a healthier country is inspiring….one step at a time! On those very cold Saturday mornings when I just want to stay snuggled in my bed instead of heading out for our 9am walk, I get motivated by simply saying to myself, “What Would Dr. David Do? (WWDDD)”. Knowing that he deals with heart patients all day long and sees the consequences of inactivity and poor dietary choices helps me realize that what we are doing is very important! This is what keeps me going – no matter what! Dr. David – thanks for your vision and passion….AND your sense of humor!! Congrats on 10 years of making people healthier!!! You ‘da best!!!!!
PS: Here’s a big HUG too!
Scott N. Friedman (Founding Board Member)
When Dave asked me to be on the Board of WWAD the program was in its infancy. Dave, Krissy, their children and the WWAD staff have shown amazing dedication during the last ten years to make WWAD a remarkable international program. Dave’s passion from the beginning was to help people improve their health. He did not stop with being a cardiologist, he went even further. Congratulations Dave on ten exciting years. You are truly an inspiration to all.
Willard Becker (Seasoned WWAD Walker – Born in 1926)
David has been an inspiration for me to incorporate walking 150 Minutes plus a week into my routine and I feel I am much better off as a result. It has been an honor to be associated with Dr Sabgir. I also appreciate the many friends I have made as a result of the Walk.
Kathryn Stephens (WWAD Powerhouse Executive Director 2009-2013)
There is no man, physician or program that is more genuine than Dr. David Sabgir and Walk with a Doc. David and the walk bring out the BEST in medicine, providing confidence, education and self-advocacy in YOUR health. We are beyond blessed to have him in Columbus and the country is better for having Walk with a Doc! Thank you, David, for your unwavering commitment to transform medicine.
Jessica Shafer (Driving Force behind Anthem Sponsorship)
David has such passion and love for the walk. He was able to take something small in his community and make it huge, impacting so many lives. It is a privilege to be able to work with him and help spread the word.
Debra Heater (Tireless WWAD Advocate who has made WWAD bigger and better in Texas with the TMA)
It’s been an honor to meet and get to know Dr. Sabgir over the last two years. The Walk With a Doc program has allowed me to connect with people in a healthy way and it’s just a fun program to be a part of. From Austin, TMA, and the Texas Chili Parlor, we wish you continued success!
Bev Soult (Integral First “Chief”)
I am privileged to have been a part of the inaugural Walk With A Doc and helping create the foundation, certainly the heart:)
Housed in David’s office or conference room we spent endless hours with giant vision boards taped to the wall, all the walls. He always looked at the big picture…never settling for anything less, I loved that about him.
When I first talked to David about working on the project, I went into the conversation thinking I just don’t have time…needless to say 1 ½ hours later I ended the call with a YES, I’d love to join you! I love walking but what I most loved was David’s commitment to his patients, family members and actually everyone. He knows that by simply participating himself he would be the difference. Taking off his white coat and putting on his running shoes, laughing, talking and conversing won the hearts of everyone. We always included healthful snacks, blood pressure checks, stretching and wonderful friendships were developed by many of the walkers. We walked outside and inside Polaris Mall…we just kept walking.
We set meetings with the Ohio Department of Parks and Recreation, pharmaceutical companies, staff meetings, corporations, you name it, we did it…he was tireless. I’d like to share two of my most memorable moments…we always asked if people had questions and David always put the answers in simple terms so everyone could understand. One elderly lady said I do have some questions, she turned around and picked up an accordion file full of papers…I think Reva’s eyes were larger than mine and David’s but he was patient and kind…the second memorable moment was one of our elderly walkers started with us and could barely get out of her car and walked with a cane. After a months with us she would be smiling as she got out of her car and walked…without a cane!
David is who I tell everyone is my hero… defined as a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. This is David…the truest of friends and the best of the best…my hero! Congratulations David for your wonderful success…you do make a difference every single day!
Fondly and always your friend….Bev
Jason Koma (WWAD Superstar Spokesman)
I have never left a walk, a meeting or even a brief conversation with David without being inspired to be better and do more, both personally and professionally. Thank you David for everything you do for all of us! Your amazing vision is only equaled by your selflessness and humility (not to mention your sense of humor). Congrats on 10 years of making a difference!
Dr. Frank Stroebel (Former Pediatrician to many WWAD Staff Members including David)
David has the knack to combine learning and levity for the health benefits of WWAD participants.
Jonathan Bonnet, MD (Longtime WWAD Rockstar)
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” – Denis Waitley
I discovered Walk With a Doc as a medical student, and from the moment I met David, I knew this was something special. It has been a true blessing to know and work with him throughout my medical school and residency training. I have never been around a more passionate, dedicated, and genuinely good-hearted person. His enthusiasm and desire to change the health of this country cannot help but inspire. Having personally experienced the effect the walks have had on hundreds of people, I can honestly say that Walk With a Doc has the power to change the world, literally, one step at a time.
Jennifer Young (1/2 of the Las Vegas Dynamic Leadership Duo)
I’d like to say that he is the epitome of kindness and generosity! His sense of humor, dedication and commitment to promoting good health, one step at a time, are what makes me happy and grateful to be a part of WWAD.The program really is one of the best parts of my job!