Get involved for prevention

Published 9:23 pm Thursday, February 26, 2015

It’s near the end of February, and that means there’s less than three months left until Suffolk’s two biggest health-related fundraisers: the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure and the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

Both diabetes and cancer are vicious diseases that ruin and steal lives daily. Both, therefore, have a large cadre of dedicated fighters in Suffolk and elsewhere who want to see them eradicated.

For the last several years, I’ve been able to do stories on many local participants of both events. Most of them either manage diabetes, are cancer survivors, or have family members who either have cancer or diabetes or have died of their disease.

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The funds raised by both organizations go toward research, assistance for those with the disease and advocacy.

And, perhaps most important, because some types of both diseases are partially preventable, education on how to prevent the diseases is a paramount aspect of the work of both organizations.

The American Diabetes Association, for example, has its Project Power program, which trains ambassadors in local churches to educate their fellow parishioners about how to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Funded by the Obici Healthcare Foundation, the program operates in predominantly black churches, because black people are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Similarly, the American Cancer Society works to promote screening tests for early detection, which increases survival rates for cancer, and also educates folks on how to control the controllable risk factors — eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting physically active and not smoking or using other nicotine products, all of which also happen to be good ways to reduce your risk for diabetes.

Teams are forming now for both events, and fundraising opportunities during the spring are plentiful. If you’re passionate about helping people prevent or survive diabetes or cancer, look into joining up.

For more information on the April 25 Tour de Cure, visit

For more information on the May 16-17 Relay For Life, visit