Di­a­betes pro­gram cel­e­brates mile­stone

The Delhi News-Record - - NEWS -

Nearly 250 peo­ple gath­ered in Nor­folk to cel­e­brate strong com­mu­nity sup­port for in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies liv­ing with di­a­betes.

The oc­ca­sion on Nov. 7 marked the 25th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of a pro­gram at Nor­folk Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal ded­i­cated to help­ing lo­cal res­i­dents man­age the con­di­tion.

The pro­gram has since ex­panded to in­clude Haldimand res­i­dents on an out-pa­tient ba­sis at West Haldimand Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Hagersville and War Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Dun­nville.

The one con­stant through­out has been Cindy Gekiere, the di­a­betes pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor in Haldimand and Nor­folk. Gekiere was there at the be­gin­ning in 1993 and re­mains a bea­con to lo­cal res­i­dents re­ceiv­ing a di­ag­no­sis of di­a­betes.

“You have ar­rived and sur­vived and – most im­por­tantly – you have thrived in spite of it all,” she said.

Gekiere told those in at­ten­dance she is hum­bled by the courage and the “strength to in­cor­po­rate into your lives the life­style changes to help con­trol your blood sugar and to trust and have faith in your health-care providers as they guide you on what is best to do.”

A NGH news re­lease says Gekiere be­gan with an out-pa­tient com­ple­ment of 62 pa­tients.

To­day, 5,500 in­di­vid­u­als are en­tered into the pro­gram’s data­base. Of these, 3,500 are as­so­ci­ated with NGH. The pro­gram em­ploys four reg­is­tered nurses, three reg­is­tered di­eti­cians and two clerks.

Kelly Is­fan, pres­i­dent and CEO of NGH and West Haldimand in Hagersville, had high praise for the di­a­betes pro­gram on the oc­ca­sion of its 25th an­niver­sary.

“Cindy has dis­played ex­traor­di­nary ded­i­ca­tion in build­ing a pro­gram best serv­ing those liv­ing with di­a­betes in both com­mu­ni­ties,” Is­fan said. “I am con­fi­dent she and her team will con­tinue to grow ser­vices to meet fu­ture needs.”

At the Nov. 7 gath­er­ing, guest speak­ers Dr. David Kennedy and Dr. Tim Bard spoke of the lat­est re­search and the lat­est ex­pert opin­ions on manag­ing the con­di­tion.

Those liv­ing with di­a­betes have ad­van­tages to­day that peo­ple 10 years ago could only dream of. Many peo­ple liv­ing with di­a­betes to­day mon­i­tor their blood-sugar lev­els with a wrist watch-like de­vice. Not long ago, pa­tients mon­i­tored their blood-sugar with a blood test.

Pro­gram mile­stones in­clude the es­tab­lish­ment of the Sugar Scoop news­let­ter in 1999. The Sugar Scoop is is­sued to ev­ery­one in the pro­gram’s data base once a year. It is in­stru­men­tal in keep­ing ev­ery­one in the lo­cal area up to date on the lat­est in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing di­a­betes man­age­ment.

As well, in 1996, a monthly sup­port group was es­tab­lished with guest speak­ers for those who are not in­ter­ested in keep­ing sched­uled ap­point­ments. That sup­port group con­tin­ues to gather to this day.

HAND­OUT/ DELHI NEWS RECORD

Cindy Gekiere, co-or­di­na­tor of the di­a­betes man­age­ment pro­gram across the two coun­ties, with Dr. David Kennedy, an ex­pert on di­a­betes and one of the guest speak­ers at the Nov. 7 gala.

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