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Greensburg Lions Club plans annual diabetes awareness walk

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The president of the Greensburg Lions Club said she hopes participation will increase now that the Lions Walk for Diabetes Awareness has become an annual event.

The second annual walk is scheduled for 9 a.m.- noon on Sunday, June 23, at Mammoth Park in Mt. Pleasant Township.

Sixty people participated last year in the inaugural walk, raising $2,500, President Janet Manoledes said.

“I'd like to see it double,” she said. “As far as the number of people are concerned, I think it will be possible.”

Lions clubs like to focus on blindness as a community service effort and diabetes is among the leading causes of blindness in adults, said Manoledes and Dave Stitely, district governor for the Lions Clubs in Westmoreland County.

“Since the Lions organization wants to help people who are blind and help people's awareness of blindness ... we also like to supply awareness drives in the area,” Manoledes said.

Funds raised also will help the UPMC McKeesport Diabetes Center, which the Westmoreland County and Allegheny County Lions help operate, Stitely said.

“We do education programs and give treatment to those who can't afford it there,” Stitely said.

Money raised also goes to diabetes research, he said.

In 2011, diabetes directly affected 25.8 million people, or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population — 18.8 million diagnosed with the disease and 7 million not yet diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 3.3 million Americans, age 40 and older, are either legally blind or suffer from low vision, according to the federal agency.

People with low vision have difficulty doing such everyday tasks as shopping, cooking or watching television, even if wearing glasses or contacts, according to the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind.

Many of the 1,250 people in 35 Lions clubs in Westmoreland County are aware of the walk and Manoledes believes that should help raise number of participants.

The event will be held at Mammoth's pavilion No. 11. The walk will involve one or more laps around the lake.

Participants can register early or on the day of the event, Manoledes said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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