Raising awareness for Diabetes

DIABETES AWARENESS: Lioness Club fundraising director and immediate past president Janet Bellinger promotes diabetes awareness.

Charlotte Varcoe

FOR the first time, the Lions Club of Blue Lake City Lionesses will raise funds and awareness around diabetes in a three-day advocacy blitz.

The Lioness Club will support diabetes by raising funds for research while also drawing attention to Type 1 diabetes specifically.

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood with Type 1 being an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.

Type 1 diabetes currently accounts for nine per cent of all diabetes in Australia and is typically managed with insulin injections several times a day or the use of an insulin pump.

Lioness Club fundraising director and immediate past president Janet Bellinger said Type 1 diabetes needed more research with the local branch deciding to help out.

Ms Bellinger said the club was doing a range of activities leading up to National Diabetes Day on Monday.

“We will have a nurse with us at Mount Gambier Central on Friday and Saturday who will be doing glucose tests and blood pressure,” Ms Bellinger said.

“We will also have a medical alert dog who is in training.”

She said the local branch also has its own medical alert dog which was sponsored by the club after members learnt of its training.

“Our club has a medical alert dog which we bought sometime ago called Nessie and the alert dog which is coming this weekend is the brother of Nessie,” Ms Bellinger said.

“When we went as a club to see the alert dogs we were so impressed so we came together to get the money to support a dog.”

As well as the free testing, Ms Bellinger said members of the Lioness Club would meet at the Limestone Coast Pantry to walk and raise awareness.

“We will walk for as long or short as people want with a small donation,” she said.

“All we need to know is how far and the number of steps people have walked and we will put all the steps together and see whether the Lions have walked around Australia collectively.”

She said diabetes was “quite a serious thing” which affected both young people and the elderly.

“We feel it is really important that we bring diabetes awareness to the local people,” she said.

“This event is new for our club here in Mount Gambier and we saw it as another way we could help people and exercise is really important for diabetics as they need to exercise to help keep the glucose levels down and it has been shown that walking is great.”

Ms Bellinger said alongside diabetes awareness, the Lioness Club had recently planted pink petunias in the garden boxes along Commercial Street to raise awareness around breast cancer.

“Previously the petunias were yellow and blue for the Lions Club 75 years but this time we thought we would do pink to show support for breast cancer,” she said.

“This week we also gathered at the Town Hall and put the Christmas tree decorations on and began our Christmas raffle.”

In the coming weeks, the Lioness Club will also be stationed at Mount Gambier Central to conduct its gift wrapping fundraiser.