As a retired endocrinologist, Dr. Mel Prince is quite familiar with the effects of diabetes.
Prince, a Zionsville resident who has been with the Zionsville Lions Club about six years, serves as diabetes technical advisor for Lions Club International Foundation for the U.S. and Canada. Prince had the idea to hold a Zionsville event to raise awareness.
The third Strides for Diabetes Awareness 5K and 10K Walk/Run, sponsored by the Zionsville Lions Club, is set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 15. The event debuted in 2019 and was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then returned last year. The course begins at Lions Park Clubhouse and goes through Zionsville for the 5K. Prince said those competing in the 10K repeat the course.
Packet pickup is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 14 and 7 to 8:15 a.m. Oct. 15 at Lions Park Clubhouse.
“The major focus is to enhance the awareness about diabetes,” Prince said. “The event is growing year by year.”
Prince said Tuxedo Brothers will manage the event, so he said organizers are anticipating their best year yet as far as participation. Medals are awarded, and there will be T-shirts for all participations.
“Our funding in the past has just been sufficient to cover the event itself,” Prince said. “But as we continued to have increased participation, we’d like to donate to various diabetes groups and send money to various diabetes screening that Lions Club does. As funds continue to increase, we would like to be able to support diabetes research in some fashion.”
Prince said diabetes is often misunderstood.
“Occasionally, it’s looked on as not being much of a problem,” he said. “It’s just a high blood sugar issue and they don’t understand the magnitude of the public health concern. On the other end, people may see a relative who had diabetes who had complications and they are very afraid of diabetes and may not want to know if they have diabetes.”
Prince said diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. He noted that 11 percent of people have diabetes and up to 25 percent might not even be aware.
“Although diabetes can lead to significant morbidity and mortality, the good news is that with good control of the disease, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, through a healthy lifestyle and medications, these complications can be delayed or prevented,” Prince said.
Prince said 1 in 3 people have diabetes, and for people older than 65, nearly 50 percent have pre-diabetes.
“If identified at the pre-diabetes stage, diabetes may be prevented by a healthy lifestyle,” Prince said. “It’s important to understand risk factors and to be screened.”
Screening for diabetes should start by age 35.
There will be diabetes information and diabetes risk assessment for attendees.
“There will be diabetes experts there like myself to answer questions about diabetes,” Prince said.
Sue Bowron-White is the coordinator of the event.
For more, search Strides for Diabetes Awareness on getmeregistered.com.