Diabetic Education Program a Reality

Señor Gomez is a 53 year old diabetic with high blood pressure and resulting amputations of the right leg and left foot. He is one of 30 similar diabetic sisters and brothers that our new specially trained diabetic education team will follow. The hope is that, if taught to manage diabetes, their quality of life will improve and the damage to their bodies will not progress further. For example, Sr. Gomez only knew that he was not supposed to eat dessert which is a small part of controlling this disease. Now he has the tools to monitor his blood glucose (sugar) and the knowledge of appropriate foods and actions. He also receives a food box each month with diabetic healthy foods and wound care twice a month to prevent infection. Monitoring and education come with each visit.

 The longer-range goal is early detection of diabetes which strikes one out of six Mexicans (higher rates among the poor). The team will work to prevent the debilitating and often fatal outcomes that they are currently witnessing. These include amputations, as with Sr. Gomez, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, inability to work or care for themselves and more.The effects throw the poor deeper into poverty and despair.

The Diabetic Education Program that the  Mission adopted was specifically designed for the Hispanic population by the University of Illinois. A hand selected team of nurses and teachers on the Mission staff attended the program conducted by our benevolent partner, Advance Community (formerly Esperaça).  We enthusiastically thank them for their concern, time, and expertise in the community health of the areas that the Casa Franciscana serves.

As with many needed programs, funding remains an issue since the cost for the glucose monitor, a year’s supply of test strips and lancets is $700 per person. This does not include staff pay, travel expenses, medications, dressings, walking devices and other implements. Our own Fr. Martin is a diabetic and thanks God every day that he has the tools to manage this difficult disease. You may want to donate to honor a diabetic person that you know. Improved health is an amazing gift anytime of the year but what better time than Christmas. You can be the instrument of great tidings and joy without leaving your home. God will see the light in your heart!

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