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Nonprofit View: Lions Club a leader in the fight against diabetes

More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. Another 8.1 million people may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. Lions Clubs International has made diabetes one of its five global causes and has created a strategic objective to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve the quality of life for those diagnosed.

Diabetes can seriously affect the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth. In most high-income countries, diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation. It is expected to affect 629 million adults by 2045.

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Diabetes happens when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy.

The early signs and symptoms of diabetes can include frequent urination, increased thirst, always feeling hungry, feeling very tired, blurry vision, slow healing of cuts and wounds, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet, and patches of dark skin.

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There is no cure for diabetes, but it can go into remission. People can manage it with medication and lifestyle changes such as avoiding foods high in refined carbs and sugar; participating in physical activity on a regular basis; drinking water instead of other beverages; losing weight; quitting smoking; watch portion sizes; avoiding sedentary behaviors; eating a high fiber diet; consuming foods high in vitamin D or taking vitamin D supplements; and minimizing your intake of processed foods.

Local Lion, Tom Harney, president of the Taylorsville Winfield Lions Club, is very familiar with diabetes and its affects. Both his brother and sister have diabetes and they have suffered many of the serious and debilitating side effects of this disease. As both a Lion and sibling of diabetics, Lion Tom works tirelessly to raise funds for diabetes research and to send diabetic children to Lions Camp Merrick.

One of Lion Tom’s projects is the Region IV, Zone III golf tournament, currently still scheduled for May 22, at Oakmont Green Golf Course in Hampstead. Lion Tom is the leading fundraiser among all Lions working on this event.

Another of Lion Tom’s diabetes projects is the annual Diabetes Dance being held at the Taylorsville-Winfield Fire Department social hall, which is still scheduled for Saturday, May 2. The dance, from 8 p.m. to midnight, provides dancing, good music, raffles, door prizes and set-ups. Music will be provided by the Cyber Rocks Band. The cost is $40 per couple/$20 single. Bring your own beer or alcoholic beverages. 

All proceeds will go to diabetes awareness and Camp Merrick diabetic camperships for children. Since it’s inception, 7 years ago, the dance has raised over $5,000 for diabetes research. This year, Lion Tom’s goal is 120 dancers and $1,200 for diabetes projects.

For more information about the Diabetes Dance or the Zone Golf Tournament, contact Lion Tom at tom@tharcoinc.com, 410-875-9445 (home) or 443-250-4442 (cell).

Susan Bonura is president of the South Carroll Lioness Lions Club and is a past district governor for District 22W.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it, as our editorial. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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