Duke in Pics: Employees, Family Catch Pokémon

LIVE FOR LIFE hosts Pokémon GO exercise event

Rubin Polk shows off a newly caught Pikachu he found during a Pokemon GO walk organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program. Rubin attended with his sister, Nisha, and mom, Sharlini Sankaran, a Duke employee. Photo by Bryan Roth.
Rubin Polk shows off a newly caught Pikachu he found during a Pokemon GO walk organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program. Rubin attended with his sister, Nisha, and mom, Sharlini Sankaran, a Duke employee. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Employees and their families took to Sarah P. Duke Gardens this week in a group effort to catch Pikachus, Slowpokes and Scythers as part of LIVE FOR LIFE’s first Pokémon GO exercise event.

Armed with smartphones and plenty of PokéBalls, faculty, staff and family members walked along dirt paths looking to catch as many of the make-believe animals as they could find using the popular Pokémon GO app. Rubin Polk, 8, caught his first Pikachu, a mouse-like Pokémon that uses electricity during the virtual battles on the app.

“I wasn’t actually looking for him, but he popped up on my screen and I thought ‘I have to catch this,’” said Polk, seen above, son of Sharlini Sankaran, executive director of the School of Medicine’s Regeneration Next Initiative. “It’s nice to accomplish something you’ve been trying to do since you got the game.”

In all, about 80 people joined the event, which was led by Duke employee wellness staff that set virtual “lures” in the app to attract Pokémon to walkers. Groups paced the pathways in Duke Gardens, adding steps toward the suggested daily exercise amount of 10,000, and participated in light stretching while trying to catch Pokémon.

“I like the idea because it’s a great place to take a walk,” said John Dement, professor in community and family medicine, as his two grandchildren paused behind him to catch Pokémon.

“There’s another Pikachu!” exclaimed Simon Dement, seen below in a T-shirt and hat.

Employees also took the opportunity to learn more about the game. Jeanne Scott, a medical assistant at Duke’s Private Diagnostic Clinic, is seen below getting pointers from her daughter, Shanna.

Faculty and staff interested in catching Pokémon with LIVE FOR LIFE should keep an eye on Duke Today for future Pokémon GO walks. More information about LIVE FOR LIFE wellness programs can be found on the LIVE FOR LIFE website.