Knights of the Blind

A scene as it might be viewed by a person with...

A scene as it might be viewed by a person with diabetic retinopathy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 30 June 1925, blind and deaf Helen Keller charged Lions to be “Knights of the Blind.”

Frankfort Lions have a tradition of focus on service projects related to supporting the blind. Among them is the Sights and Sounds raffle in April, the Candy Day collection on street corners around town in October. Another is STRIDES: Lions and Lincoln Way Walk for Diabetes Awareness.

Why support STRIDES, and why make people aware of diabetes?  Before answering that question here are some statistics from the American Diabetes Association. The answer follows.

***********************************************************************************

Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released Jan. 26, 2011)

Total prevalence of diabetes

Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.

Diagnosed: 18.8 million people

Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people

Prediabetes: 79 million people*

New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

* In contrast to the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, which used fasting glucose data to estimate undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet uses both fasting glucose and A1C levels to derive estimates for undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes. These tests were chosen because they are most frequently used in clinical practice.

Under 20 years of age

  • 215,000, or 0.26% of all people in this age group have diabetes
  • About 1 in every 400 children and adolescents has diabetes

Age 20 years or older

  • 25.6 million, or 11.3% of all people in this age group have diabetes

Age 65 years or older

  • 10.9 million, or 26.9% of all people in this age group have diabetes

Men

  • 13.0 million, or 11.8% of all men aged 20 years or older have diabetes

Women

  • 12.6 million, or 10.8% of all women aged 20 years or older have diabetes

________________________________________________________________________

The answer for why the Frankfort Lions promote STRIDES.

Blindness (taken from the ADA website to read the entire article click here)

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years.

  • In 2005-2008, 4.2 million (28.5%) people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, almost 0.7 million (4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss.

    Donate to STRIDES

    Proceeds from STRIDES is donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association

Great STRIDES

Blogging on Grumpa Joe’s Place  became second to my other activities this month.  It has been a busy LIONS activity month. A parade, Candy Day, a walkathon, board meeting, regular meeting etc. the list goes on. After the Lions activity, my garden needed to be put to bed for the winter. Fall always makes the garden look tired and ragged. Leaves get into everything. Dry flower stems abound, and the pond fills with debris. Lots of work, in other words.

I started a new website this summer for the Frankfort Lions Club, and posted to it frequently to promote club events and to inform members about our activities and needs. It has become a very useful tool for the club. I posted more on the WE SERVE blog than I did on GJP. One reason was my involvement with the STRIDES: Lions Walk for Diabetes Awareness. This was the third time I ran this walk, and I set a goal to make it a success. The past two walks were mediocre at best. We learned from each, and this time we made it better.

Last winter, while surfing the net in Arizona, I learned that walkathons are popular with schools. Late this summer, our Lions District Governor came back from a convention and related the Lions Clubs International Foundation goal to involve the youth of community in local Lion activities. That convinced me that I was on the right path.

I scheduled the event for next spring to  give the club plenty of time to plan. The first step was to get on the high school calendar. In the process, the Student Activities Coordinator recommended that we partner and hold the walk on Make a Difference Day on October 23, 2010. So much for long term planning. We were seven weeks away at this point, but excited at the prospect of partnering with a prestigious school like Lincoln-Way East. The rest is history. This walk became the most successful of all three.

Part of my effort went into creating online registration, and the website produced 20% of the total income. It also gave us a feel for what the participation might be.

Why was this walk so important to me? Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in the world. Lions are committed to eliminating blindness and to serving sight impaired people. I also have a personal reason for the interest. One of my family members is a type one diabetic, and  I am committed to finding a cure for the disease.

Diabetes is not new, it is well over five thousand years old.  There are ancient Egyptian petroglyphs depicting flies swarming around the sweet urine of a man taking a whiz. One would think that by now we would have a cured it. A cure is getting closer, but still light years away for the people affected by the disease. Progress is happening. Until the discovery of insulin in the early nineteen hundreds, people with diabetes died from starvation, and many organ failures.

Diabetes is still a scourge and the reason for so many health problems that they are too numerous to mention. As progress is made to cure the disease, the world is becoming more diabetic. What’s with that?

If you want to help my cause go to the WE SERVE blog and donate online to the STRIDES walk.

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