Diabetes Queensland is thrilled by news from the USA overnight
that across the world the service club Lions Club International has
a new signature cause - the global diabetes epidemic.
The world's largest volunteer organisation made the announcement
at its 100th anniversary conference in Chicago.
In their second century, Lions will now mobilize their 1.4
million members in 47,000 service clubs in 200 countries to focus
"More than 420 million people are living with diabetes, and many
more are undiagnosed because they don't have ready access to health
care, or aren't aware of the warning signs" said Lions
International President Bob Corlew. "This is where Lions
volunteers can help."
After spending much of their centennial year assessing emerging,
worldwide critical needs, Lions International selected diabetes
among other top causes such as hunger, cancer and the
Diabetes was chosen because it is a growing epidemic across all
cultures, which makes Lions' global network of volunteers uniquely
suited to help in the fight against it, says Corlew.
"Since 1925 at the behest of Helen Keller, Lions volunteers
have worked for a century to prevent blindness and improve vision
for millions around the globe," Corlew continues. "Now we want to
mobilize our global network of volunteers in the fight against
Lions clubs are developing service implementation strategies
that include diabetes screenings, camps for diabetic children,
support groups and community recreational facilities.
They also have ongoing partnerships with hospital's diabetes
prevention and lifestyle intervention programs, which help raise
awareness about Type 2 diabetes and aim to prevent or delay onset
in people at risk.
"Many of our clubs are already piloting diabetes prevention
work," continued Corlew.
Lions clubs have served more than 1.2 million people through
diabetes projects in the last year.
"Lions clubs volunteers are a good fit to work on diabetes
prevention and care because we are your coworker, your next door
neighbor, your family member. So our approach to diabetes is
personal and sustainable," said Gina Prendki, a
Windy City Lions Club volunteer in Chicago and a staff
person developing the implementation strategy for Lions
"Our network of volunteers come from a wide variety of
backgrounds which means we can come up with creative solutions and
act relatively quickly to meet community needs.
"Whether it is hosting a summer camp for children with diabetes,
distributing educational materials at community events, helping an
individual gain access to needed diabetes care, or organizing an
annual marathon for diabetes research, Lions are committed to
investing in their communities and improving the quality of life
for all," said Gina Prendki.
Lions International celebrated its 100th year of
humanitarian service at its annual international convention at
McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, the city where
Lions began. Over 30,000 Lions from 110 countries gathered
in Chicago from June 28 to July 4th, making the
convention its largest ever held in North America