There’s a new name and a renewed sense of purpose for a local organization at the forefront of raising awareness about reaching out to those with diabetes.
This past February, the Canadian Diabetes Association became Diabetes Canada to help shine a brighter light on diabetes and to rally Canadians to stand with the one in three Canadians living with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
That goal is indeed top of mind right here in Central Alberta, said Jackie Morrison, coordinator of community engagement with the Diabetes Canada Red Deer office, which is located at #8 – 6874 52nd Ave.
She explained the former name came to be associated more with managing the disease.
“Instead of that, now our motto is to ‘End Diabetes’,” she said. “Our goal is start changing it around and lowering the numbers of diabetes,” she added, pointing out that currently, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every minute.
“There is also a huge stigma attached to being diabetic,” she said, referring to preconceptions some people have that those with Type 2 diabetes in particular are sometimes just lazy, eat poorly and are fat. But it’s not that simple. Other things like genetic pre-dispositions can of course play a role. “There are a lot of different things attached to it.”
She doesn’t negate the influence that inactivity and lifestyle can have in contributing to the development of Type 2 diabetes. But she also noted that virtually all foods these days have sugar in them, too. So it’s all the more difficult for people to eat healthfully and properly in a consistent manner.
In the meantime, Morrison is more than happy to chat with anyone who is trying to find their way to best deal with diabetes. Unfortunately, some who have been diagnosed with Type 2 don’t seem to want to manage it properly. “When you are ready to be honest with yourself, I can help you. But I can’t help you until you are willing to be accountable,” she said.
To that end, Morrison is eager to get the word out there that Diabetes Canada is here to help.
Support groups are available, as are educational opportunities. “We hold events at least once a month somewhere. It might not always be in Red Deer. It might be a support group in Blackfalds. It might be a walking group in Olds.”
There are also the youngsters to think about, she said.
A number of children with diabetes can attend camps that are geared to offering them a terrific camp experience that might be more challenging by attending a regular camp. “I need volunteers to help raise money to help send those 208 children who need a camp spot from Central Alberta this year. I need to raise $2,500 per kid. So I say to people I need you to go out and knock on doors to help us with the campaign. Or I need you to come to these events, so that this money can be used for these kids.
“So with the re-brand, this is what we are trying to do. We are trying to reach out and say this is a very real problem, and this is what we need from the public – this is what we need you to do.”
For more information, call 403-346-4631.