Lions support American Diabetes Association Step Out event

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 21:18

Local Lions donated their time and resources to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) fundraising event Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. The flagship event helps the ADA provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

This year’s event, which was held Sunday, Oct. 14 at Sullivan Arena, was organized by Kris Sharp, an Anchorage Lion, and local Lions had their own team — Lions’ Pride. The team, consisting of six walkers, raised more than $500 for diabetes research and education.

Lions helped by walking and raising donations, volunteering and donating. At the event, we enjoyed health screening, face painting, music and fun. Lunch was available at the Humpy’s Lunch Lounge. All ages were welcome.

Weather wasn’t an issue because we were inside in a nice, temperature-controlled environment. Participants walked as little or as much as they were able.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 346 million people worldwide have diabetes, a global epidemic that is expected to affect 380 million by 2025. People with diabetes are at risk of losing sight due to diabetic retinopathy. Approximately two percent of all people who have had diabetes for 15 years become blind, while about 10 percent develop a severe visual impairment, according to WHO.

In Alaska, the numbers are staggering. There are more than 68,500 Alaskans affected by diabetes, according to the ADA. This includes children and adults, men and women and every race.

The Lions organization is known as “knights of the blind.” Locally, each club supports programs and services for the blind and visually impaired — and aims to eliminate preventable and reversible blindness. Lions support local health programs to control and prevent diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of vision loss in adults of working age in industrialized countries.

Each day, millions of Lions meet the needs of local communities by volunteering in more than 200 countries. In the Chugiak-Eagle River area, more than 100 Lions belonging to three different clubs, Sleeping Lady Lions, Eagle River Lions, and Chugiak Lions share the same core belief — community is what we make it.

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