November marks Diabetes Awareness Month

It is estimated that more than 217,000 Albertans live with diabetes and it is known that one in three people with diabetes have it and don’t know it.

Helen Robertson, local branch coordinator, said this year is a special year because it is the 90th year since insulin was discovered.

“Above the awareness month we also celebrate World Diabetes Day on November 14th because that is actually Frederick Banting’s birthday,” said Robertson.

Banting is the one known for the discovery of the production of insulin in the body.

The Canadian Diabetes Association’s Red Deer branch will be hosting a tea on Nov. 14th from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. and people are welcome to stop in, gain information, ask questions and celebrate the occasion.

“We are working to lead the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live a healthy life while we work to find a cure.”

Robertson said there is a door-to-door canvassing campaign going on this month and that 35 rural towns are participating along with Red Deer.

“People can expect to see canvassers at their door.”

Money raised locally stays in the community and goes to support research campaigns, education programs, services and advocacy, said Robertson.

Along with celebrating the 90th year since insulin was discovered, Robertson said they are very excited at the Red Deer branch to be celebrating 25 years of service to Red Deer.

In Alberta there are two regional leadership centres, one in Edmonton and one in Calgary. There are also five diabetes association branches including Red Deer.

“We are basically the grassroots so when you’re newly diagnosed or want prevention you can come in here and pick up handouts and cookbooks from us.”

The branch also offers a biomedical waste program to Red Deer.

“If you have used insulin needles you can drop them off here and they’ll be disposed of properly.”

Robertson said that an important thing to note is that the branch also offers summer camp programs for children with diabetes between ages eight and 15.

Schools are getting more involved. Roberston said more often than before schools will have speakers come in to talk about diabetes and how to prevent it and live with it.

Diabetes is not necessarily more prominent in today’s society; Robertson said it is just something people are more aware of and receiving treatment for.

“We don’t give any direct medical care here at the branch; we will refer all people to the Diabetes Education Centre.”

The Association also has an exposition and trade show on March 20 with over 40 information booths with everything from information to cookbooks and healthy living ideas.

“As of today there are nine million Canadians living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. We know that three million of those have diabetes, and six million have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and are really at risk for developing diabetes.”

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