Organization rallies to raise funds for diabetes

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 17, 2005

Charity officials are hopeful there is still enough good will togo around after area residents have contributed so heavily toHurricane Katrina relief efforts.

“Anything is great appreciated. We know people are giving a lotto other causes right now,” said Crystal Lewis, promotionscoordinator for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi and anorganizer of the charity’s fund-raiser walk Oct. 29.

The walk will begin at 10 a.m. at Exchange Club Park withregistration beginning at 9:30 a.m.

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“I have a few teams already, but many come to the eventindividually as walkers,” Lewis said.

There is a $20 registration fee to participate. Participants whoraise a minimum of $50, which includes the registration fee, willreceive a free event T-shirt.

The organization will continue recruiting teams and individualsuntil the event, she said. People can also register by calling thefoundation toll-free at 1-877-336-2873.

The foundation hopes to raise around $20,000 during the walk,Lewis said. One hundred percent of the money raised will stay inMississippi.

Although the foundation needs the donations to fund educationalprograms, provide services and fund research, its primary goal isto inform people of the disease, Lewis said.

“The main thing is to get out the information and boost theawareness of diabetes,” she said.

Nearly one in 10 people in the state has diabetes, and as manyas 115,000 are unaware they have it, according to foundationstatistics. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the stateand leads the state as the No. 1 cause of blindness. Each yearabout 350 cases of blindness are attributed to diabetes.