Because the onset of Type 2 diabetes is a disheartening situation to come to terms with, the Canadian Diabetes Association is bringing people together in Saanich to walk and talk about the disease.
The CDA’s Walk and Talk Program was so successful last year, it expanded from the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre to include two new locations, Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre and Tall Tree Health at Mattick’s Farm in Cordova Bay.
“More than 100 people participated in the program at Cedar Hill last year, meaning there is obviously a great need for this,” said co-organizer Caroline Macey-Brown.
The sessions are free and run weekly over the next seven weeks. Each session starts with a guest speaker on diabetes-related issues. After the talk the participants (who have Type 1, Type 2, pre-diabetes, or are caregivers) split into groups for a walk. At Cedar Hill, it means going around the golf course.
“I loved it, I went to all 10 sessions and found it tremendously informative,” said Sheila Korlak, a retired nurse and Gordon Head resident.
Korlak is living with pre-diabetes for two years. She’s able to keep it in check with an active lifestyle and healthy diet, two things heavily encouraged by the Walk and Talk Program. She came back this year as a volunteer and will help administrate the Tall Tree sessions, though she also plans to participate in as many Cedar Hill sessions as possible.
“Activity is very important, especially as so many of the people are also seniors,” Korlak said.
The walk portion of the session helps to create a sense of community, said Macey-Brown.
“We know what we should do, eat broccoli and walk. But the challenge is finding the motivation to make these small changes, and to link our physical well-being with our emotional well-being,” Macey-Brown said.
A grant from the Victoria Foundation made expanding the program possible, said Penny Murray, CDA branch co-ordinator for Vancouver Island.
A popular topic for speakers is foot care, as feet, and toes, of people with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to amputation.
“It’s something that is easily preventable if you are careful to look, touch and feel, something that gets harder for people who are obese or older,” Murray said.
It’s estimated 13.6 million Canadians will have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2025.
Walk times are: 10 a.m. on Tuesdays at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre until May 17; 10 a.m. Thursdays at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre until May 19; and 10 a.m. Fridays at Tall Tree Integrated Health (Mattick’s Farm) until May 20.
For more information contact Penny Murray at 250-382-5454 (ext 222), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit diabetes.ca/walkandtalkvictoria.