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Hundreds Coming Out for Diabetes Treatment and Education Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:29

“If we save one life; if we save one person from losing their sight; if we save one person from having to rely on dyalisis; if we save one person from losing their limbs it will all have been worth the effort.” – Vanessa Jenkins-Young, President of the Belize Diabetes Association of New York.

The Belize Diabetes Association of New York (BDANY) has been operating since August of 2010. Their mission is “to identify and address the needs of Belizeans with Diabetes by: Prevention, Maintenance (Education, Nutrition & Medication), Wellness and Minimizing”. The organization has made donations to the Belize Diabetes Association and in years passed they have also sponsored clinics held in Belize by foreign podiatrists and other medical experts. This year the association has partnered with the Caribbean Diabetes Initiaive to host symposiums and clinics in Belize City and Dangriga.

Symposiums and clinics are being held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, August 13 to 15. The first symposium and clinic were open to the public and held simultaneously on Wednesday, August 13, at ITVET in Belize City. A team of more than 20 specialists provided services to Belizeans living with diabetes and those at risk of being diabetic. Registration began at 9:30 a.m. and by 11 a.m. almost 200 individuals had registered for screening or treatment. The turnout was much higher than the group expected but Young says, “The doctors have promised to see everybody and [the turnout] shows just how important these types of initiatives are.” Young says that as much as 300 people would have seen a specialist by the time the clinic was closed in Belize City on Wednesday.

On Thursday the group travels to the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School in Dangriga. The schedule is similar to that in Belize City with the clinic and symposium being held simultaneously. Young says there is usually a huge turnout in Dangriga and the group is expecting as much as 250 people to come out. At the symposium, presentations are made by several medical experts. Dr. Samy McFarlene presents on Diabetes Prevention. Laura E. Dunkley is a registered dietitian who presents on Nutrition and Diabetes. Physical Therapist Dr. Carol J. Wilson presents on Light Exercise. Foot Surgeon Dr. Steven S. Wells presents on Diabetes Manifestations in the Lower Extremities. Senior Nurse Practitioner Kisha Carrington presents on Gestational Diabetes and Nurse Practitioner Suzette Williams presents on Diabetes in Children. On Friday the group will host a symposium and dinner with local doctors, teachers and community health care practitioners. The team of experts is being lead by Trinidadian Dr. Lisel Hope, President of the Caribbean Diabetes Initiative.

The Belize Diabetes Association of New York raises funds through a number of activities over the year. The main fundraising drives are trips to Atlantic City and the Roof Top Gala at one of the members’ home. Elizabeth Hamilton-Williams, Vice-President of BDANY, says support for the organization’s fundraising activities has been impressive. This year there were so many patrons of the Roof Top Gala that it had to be moved to a huge back yard “under the stars”. The group will also be providing water and sharing information at this year’s New York Park Fest.