CHICAGO, July 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lions Clubs International – the world's largest volunteer organization – announced today it will mobilize its 47,000 service clubs in 200 countries around a new signature cause - the global diabetes epidemic. The organization, founded 100 years ago, unveiled diabetes as a new focus for its 1.4 million members during their centennial convention in Chicago.
"More than 420 million people are living with diabetes, and many more are undiagnosed because they don't have ready access to health care, or aren't aware of the warning signs" said Lions International President Bob Corlew. "This is where Lions volunteers can help."
After spending much of their centennial year assessing emerging, worldwide critical needs, Lions International selected diabetes among other top causes such as hunger, cancer and the environment. Diabetes was chosen because it is a growing epidemic across all cultures, which makes Lions' global network of volunteers uniquely suited to help in the fight against it.
"Since 1925 at the behest of Helen Keller, Lions volunteers have worked for a century to prevent blindness and improve vision for millions around the globe," Corlew continues. "Now we want to mobilize our global network of volunteers in the fight against diabetes."
Lions clubs are developing service implementation strategies that include diabetes screenings, camps for diabetic children, support groups and community recreational facilities.
They also have ongoing partnerships with hospital's diabetes prevention and lifestyle intervention programs, which help raise awareness about Type 2 diabetes and aim to prevent or delay onset in people at risk.
"Many of our clubs are already piloting diabetes prevention work," continued Corlew.
Lions clubs have served more than 1.2 million people through diabetes projects in the last year.
"Lions clubs volunteers are a good fit to work on diabetes prevention and care because we are your coworker, your next door neighbor, your family member. So our approach to diabetes is personal and sustainable. Our network of volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds which means we can come up with creative solutions and act relatively quickly to meet community needs. Whether it is hosting a summer camp for children with diabetes, distributing educational materials at community events, helping an individual gain access to needed diabetes care, or organizing an annual marathon for diabetes research, Lions are committed to investing in their communities and improving the quality of life for all," said Gina Prendki, a Windy City Lions Club volunteer in Chicago and a staff person developing the implementation strategy for Lions International.
Lions International celebrates its 100th year of humanitarian service this year at its annual international convention at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, the city where Lions began. Over 30,000 Lions from 110 countries will gather in Chicago from June 28 to July 4th, making the convention its largest ever held in North America. For more information visit www.lionsclubs.org.