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Learn to fight diabetes

Published 9:24pm Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A free event on Saturday will recognize people in Suffolk who are leading the fight against diabetes and educate visitors on the perils of the disease and how to prevent or manage it.

“It’s going to be a great resource of information to learn prevention,” said Deanie Eldridge, Virginia area executive director for the American Diabetes Association. “It’s going to be focused on what changes people can make to their lifestyles.”

Registration for the program begins at 10:30 a.m., and it will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Just before that, a ceremony will be held to feature churches and individuals who have participated in Project POWER, which focused on reaching people through predominantly black churches in the city. Black people have a much higher risk of developing diabetes than most other races, and Suffolk has some of the highest rates of diabetes and complications from it in the state.

Participants will receive their awards for completing the program at the graduation ceremony. The Victory Over Diabetes event will begin shortly afterward, featuring free health screenings, diabetes information, exercise demonstrations, a healthy lunch, door prizes and more.

There will be demonstrations of healthy meals and snacks, “so people can see they can still enjoy wonderful and delicious foods, but just prepared in a healthier manner,” Eldridge said.

Doctors and specialists also will be available to talk about risk factors and complications of diabetes, how to manage medications and more.

“This is the American Diabetes Association’s annual ‘give-back’ to the community,” Eldridge said. “We’ll have some great resources the citizens of Suffolk can take advantage of,” including blood glucose, blood pressure and foot screenings.

Also at the event, the group will celebrate renewed funding from the Obici Healthcare Foundation for another round of the Project POWER program.

“We’re very excited about that,” Eldridge said. “The grant begins Nov. 1, so we’re already on the lookout for churches who would be interested in participating.”

Interested church officials can attend the event to get more information and sign up that day, Eldridge added.

The event will be held at Tabernacle Christian Church, 2500 E. Washington St. Register or get more information at 424-6662 or www.diabetes.org/victoryoverdiabetes.

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