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Fun diabetes awareness walk in Benoni

Benoni Lakes Lions Club in association with Ebotse Golf and Country estate in Benoni, Gauteng are holding a fun diabetes awareness walk on Sunday 4th June 2023. The fun walk is intended to raise diabetes awareness as there will be diabetes screening and wellness exhibits on the day. We chatted to Diane Townsend, the organiser of the event.

What inspired you to start the Strides for Diabetes Awareness event?

Benoni Lakes Lions Club has been serving the community of Benoni since 2011 and have run several diabetes drives in the past. But this one promises to be our biggest one yet and we are hoping to make this an annual event. One of Lions primary pillars of service to our communities is to raise awareness around diabetes and more especially Type 2 diabetes.

By hosting this event, we hope to  support people affected by diabetes by showing them that they can still live a full and healthy life with the correct guidance and support.

Diane Townsend, club president

With the ever-increasing rate of diabetes within the population, we hope to educate the community about diabetes, its potential impact and how small healthy lifestyle changes can make a huge difference

Diabetes awareness walk

Strides for Diabetes Awareness events are highly visible, fun community events which Lions use to promote awareness around diabetes and the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle for all ages and abilities.

It is an effective way to:

  • Engage communities to understand prediabetes and diabetes.
  • Raise awareness around prediabetes and diabetes and the importance of regular healthy exercise.
  • Demonstrate our support for those living with diabetes.
  • Raise funds to support underprivileged diabetics within our community with equipment such as glucometers and materials such as diabetes books and leaflets.

What can people expect on the day?

By attending our Strides for Diabetes awareness walk, you can expect to be welcomed by a group of enthusiastic and like-minded Lions that will engage you in a beautiful 5km fun walk that has been arranged in association with our service partner Ebotse Golf and Country Estates. They have very kindly offered their assistance and facilities to support this wonderful initiative.

The walk will lead you within a beautiful secure estate, where nature harmonises across 23 wetlands boasting many varieties of bird life and bullfrogs – some endangered – and a herd of springbok.

Participants can walk, jog or skip along at their own pace or just come along to enjoy a day filled with sunshine and health-related activities. Security and medical services will be present to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

We will have a number of stalls displaying health products and services available and will also have refreshments available for those walkers who need to quench their thirst after the walk. We will provide health screening services for those that would like to check the status of their blood glucose and blood pressure. This will be done by a registered nurse or health practitioner. 

Is everyone invited, and is there a cost involved?

Everyone is invited to attend as the event promises to be a fun-filled morning for everyone and is a chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine whilst also supporting a worthy cause. Come along no matter what age or fitness level you are. All are welcome.

A small registration fee of R20 will be charged and all funds raised will be used to further raise awareness around diabetes and to support vulnerable diabetics within our community who might not have access to adequate resources to manage their diabetes effectively.

What’s your connection to diabetes?

As a Type 1 diabetic myself, for over 30 years, I have a deep understanding of the challenges diabetics face every day to control this condition. It requires a lot of patience and endurance to manage a chronic disease 24/7.

There is a lot of planning and forethought that has to go into everyday activities that most people take for granted. Often people such as family members and work colleagues don’t fully understand what you are going through and how sometimes even though you don’t feel all that well you have to put on a brave face and push through. Diabetics are very brave! 

There are positive aspects as well, such as learning to live a healthier lifestyle by watching what you eat and exercising regularly, which we should all be doing anyway.  Diabetes forces us to face these issues and take positive steps towards improving our own health.

Since I first developed diabetes, I have had to learn to cope with a variety of challenges and I believe this has made me a stronger person.

I feel a deep passion and commitment to easing the journey for others who might be affected by this condition and am fortunate enough to be president of this amazing club and a member of an organisation such as Lions International who actively support this very valuable outreach. 

The most amazing lesson I’ve learned is that: “Diabetes can’t stop me from reaching my dreams and if I put my mind to it, I can make a success of anything I want to achieve”.

What advice do you have for others who want to put together a diabetes walk in other parts of SA?

If anyone would like to organise similar diabetes awareness walks within their communities, I highly  recommend they reach out to their local Lions Club who have all the resources available to be able to facilitate these fun events.

Lions Clubs are located in almost every community within South Africa and we would be only too glad to assist in arranging this with you .

You can find further information around Lions Clubs here:

What to read next?

Accepting a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis – Mokopane’s story: We love sharing our community’s stories of life with diabetes – including how to accept a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Here is Mokopane Bohlale’s story.

Cycling with diabetes; tips, tricks and advice: Naeem Sonpra has been living with diabetes for over 30 years, but that doesn’t keep him from being an avid cyclist.

Living With Diabetes: Siyabonga Kwanele Zuma is a writer and creator of the Living With Diabetes series on YouTube. He shares his story of life with Type 1 diabetes.

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What to read next
Join South Africans with Diabetes on Facebook

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.