Funds raised by the Sooke Harbourside Lions will help send children to Camp Kakhamela, a special camp for children with Type 1 diabetes, near Gibsons. (File)

Sooke Harbourside Lions help with diabetes battle

More than one in three British Columbians are affected by diabetes

The Sooke Harbourside Lions are again working to help inform people about diabetes.

The club’s latest initiative is happening Nov. 14 – World Diabetes Day – and is intended to help raise awareness for those who have already been diagnosed with the disease or who may be at risk of developing diabetes in the future.

“There are currently 1.6 million people in British Columbia living with or affected by diabetes and the number is expected to increase to 1.9 million by 2029. That’s more than one in three people in B.C. and every hour four more British Columbians are diagnosed with the disease,” Simon Trevelyan, the B.C.’s Regional Director of Diabetes Canada, said.

In B.C. there are also more than 2,000 children live with Type 1 diabetes.

RELATED: Walkers raise funds for diabetes awareness

“Diabetes is a Lions Club International initiative, and Lions around the world promote education and fundraising efforts in support of health promotion and prevention,” Cathy Rogers, the diabetes chair for the Harbourside Lions Club, said.

The Lions club has Change for Diabetes tins at stores throughout Sooke, including Village Foods, Western Foods, Home Hardware, Sooke Optometry, Buffy’s Pub, SEAPARC Leisure Complex, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sooke Pharmasave, the Sooke Region Museum, Pemberton Homes, 2-for-1 Pizza, Serious Coffee, and Wiskers & Waggs Pet Store.

“The money that’s raised helps to send diabetic children to Camp Kakhamela, a special camp that offers a supportive experience to children living with diabetes, near Gibsons. It also goes to other cause related to diabetes care and education in the community.”

Rogers, who is a nurse, is aware of the need for people to educate themselves about the symptoms of diabetes and how important it is for people to seek the advise of their medical professional if they suspect that they may be suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes.

“People are often not aware of the symptoms and the consequences can be very serious,” she said.

A lack of knowledge about diabetes means spotting the warning signs is not just a problem for parents, but is an issue impacting a cross-section of society.

A major concern is that the signs for Type 2 diabetes are milder, but that’s the most prevalent form of the condition. Trevelyan said that it’s also the form of the disease responsible for around 90 per cent of all diabetes.

One in two people living with diabetes are undiagnosed. The vast majority of these have Type 2 diabetes.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to life-changing complications, including blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

Diabetes is estimated to be responsible for an annual worldwide death toll of more than four million people.

“This year’s theme for World Diabetes Day is Family and Diabetes and we hope that we can raise awareness of the disease and the importance of working with your health-care professional to make sure that all the cases of diabetes are diagnosed and treated,” Rogers said.

“It is an ongoing struggle to bring awareness to diabetes, but together we can end this disease,” Trevelyan added.

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