Diabetes fundraising chair Jeanette Umbach

Spare change can make a difference

Sooke Harbourside Lions raise money for diabetes research

Back in 2005 Georgia Medwedrich launched herself and Susan Bennett into raising money for juvenile diabetes through the Sooke Harbourside Lions. They held their first Duck Race and it has become a fun way to raise awareness and funds for juvenile diabetes awareness every May.

Diabetes is rising among Canadians with nine million having some form of diabetes and an expected rise of three million by the end of this year.

Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of global death by disease. Almost 200 children a day develop diabetes worldwide and the costs associated with treating the disease and its complications is expected to rise to $15.8 billion.

The Lions have taken this on as a project and raise money for juvenile diabetes awareness through the Duck Race and for Type 2 diabetes through the donation tins.

All around Sooke you will see tin cans which say Change for Diabetes, a slight change from Pennies for Diabetes since pennies are now becoming extinct.

“We’ve raised approximately $6,000 in change,” said Lion Pat Phillips. “That’s $3,000 in change and $3,000 from the Duck Race. That’s huge!”

She said every Lions club picks projects and this is one of their main projects — they have many others.

Type 2 diabetes means the pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or the body cannot efficiently use the insulin it does have. It is usually controlled through prescription medication, diet and exercise, and in some case insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This cannot be prevented by lifestyle change or diet. Although the causes are not entirely understood, it is believed that both genetic and environmental factors trigger this.

Signs of type 1 diabetes include:

• extreme thirst

• frequent urination

• drowsiness

increased appetite

• sudden weight loss for no reason at all

• sudden vision changes

• sugar in urine

• fruity odour on breath

• heavy or labored breathing

• and in extreme cases stupor or unconsciousness.

Get checked.

Change for Diabetes tins are located in most grocery stores in Sooke as well as at John Muir elementary, Journey middle school, Saseenos elementary and Poirier elementary schools.