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Lions take on global diabetes epidemic

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.

Lions diabetes

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 on diabetes.

 

"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 environment.

 

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 diabetes."

 

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 International.

 

"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

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