Gates Lions Club will host a free community forum at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 to increase diabetes awareness, educate the public and assess risks for developing Type 2 diabetes at Gates Town Hall Annex, 1605 Buffalo Road, Rochester.
Bob Russell, upstate New York executive director of the American Diabetes Association, will speak at the event.
Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes. Most don’t understand the lifelong burden of this chronic illness or the 24/7 work it takes to effectively manage diabetes.
“Every 21 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes,” Russell said. “Our mission is to prevent, cure and improve the lives of people living with diabetes, and our comprehensive approach is changing lives. Collaborating with community organizations such as Gates Lions Club gives us the opportunity to create awareness about diabetes, encourage our community to take a simple risk test for Type 2 diabetes and show our support for those who are touched by this disease.”
“In 1925, Helen Keller asked the Lions Club to be the knights for the blind,” said Patty Redfern, president of Gates Lions Club. “In 2017, Lions Club International celebrated their 100-year anniversary, and diabetes was added to the five service areas Lions clubs worldwide support. This seems like a perfect match; people with diabetes are at a risk of losing sight due to diabetes eye disease. It is the leading cause of new-onset blindness in many countries.
“Gates Lions Club is happy to be working with the American Diabetes Association, YMCA and Gates Police Department for this informative discussion on the importance of being screened for diabetes. We hope this is just the beginning of working with these other organizations to bring informative sessions to the public. We need to raise awareness, understand the symptoms and the importance of being tested. It is called a silent killer for a reason. As we know, diabetes is at epidemic proportions.”
Unaddressed diabetes takes a heavy toll physically, financially and mentally. People with diabetes are at an increased risk for other health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and blindness.
The economic burden of diabetes and prediabetes in New York is $21.6 billion. Nationally, people with diabetes have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes, yet the true cost of diabetes is in the tens of millions of lives it touches. This campaign is designed to highlight the many faces of the diabetes epidemic and encourage everyone to take a stand.
Rochester has various programs that offer support with lifestyle changes. Call (585) 458-3040 or visit for information.