By MICHELLE HOLLINGER
Fueled by love for his sister, a desire to see her at her best and a strong belief that “action speaks louder than words,” Dahrnaz Tigner is in the midst of an initiative to bring greater awareness to the challenges associated with obesity. Departing from Pompano, Tigner began walking up the east coast on June 18, his sister, Kiana’s birthday, and plans to trek all the way to Washington, D.C., where he hopes First Lady Michelle Obama will join him for the last mile in honor of her Let’s Move fitness initiative.
“It all started with my little sister, (who) struggles with obesity. When I came home from college, my grandma asked me to help my little sister lose weight. So I had a conversation with my sister, and the thing she really stressed in that conversation is people really just don’t know how hard it is,” he explained during a telephone interview while walking through North Carolina.
Because he’s been active his whole life, Tigner said his sister was right, “I didn’t know how hard it is,” the sound of cars whizzing by as he walked. To gain greater understanding, he began researching obesity. “I realized how big this problem really is. I went to the Florida Children’s Hospital and met a three-year old who was 90 pounds and had already had three surgeries,” he explained.
Meeting youngsters struggling with obesity coupled with the challenges his sister faced motivated him to do something to inspire them all.
“I came up with this whole plan to show kids that there is someone out here willing to go the extra mile for them,” he said. His sister, Kiana, has already been inspired to take action. Since weighing in at 333 pounds a few years ago, she has shed 93 pounds and is “still working on it,” said Kiana, 25, who was initially unaware of her role in her brother’s walk. “I never thought I was his inspiration until he told me. The day he started was on my birthday,” she shared.
Expecting to arrive in D.C. in early August, Tigner said his daily process includes walking approximately 30 miles. “Each day, I’m up 4:30, 5, I’m usually on the road by 5:30 a.m. I’m usually off the road by 5 p.m.,” he said.
His team has already consulted with the First Lady’s Let’s Move staff about coordinating the last of his walk with her. “They don’t know the exact date…once I get to DC, I’m on her time,” he shared. Following his walk, he plans to open Walk of Hearts, a non-profit organization to continue his work to help people deal with obesity. To learn more about Tigner’s walk and the organization, visit walkofhearts.org.