AROUND TOWN: Diabetes 'never goes on vacation'

December 4, 2013 Updated: December 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Caption +
The Board of Directors of the Diabetes Community Center, from left; Executive Director Andrea Houk, guest speaker Dr. Pratheep Arora, Megan Fry, Jesse Spaeth, Cinda Tilstra, Julie Linley, volunteer Elaine Cacatian and Jil Goebel. 110713 Photo by Linda Navarro, The Gazette

Diabetes is the disease that "never stops, never rests, never goes on vacation."

The Spaeth family quickly learned this when son Preston was diagnosed at age 4, Jesse Spaeth, board chairman of the Diabetes Community Center, said at the group's holiday fundraising reception at Briarhurst Manor.

The nonprofit's executive director, Andrea Houk, can't recall her diabetes taking a holiday over the 34 years since she was diagnosed as a teen. However, it has come a long way since she was told to just watch what she eats, she said. That led to her suffering serious medical complications. Now she relies on an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. And she is an energetic woman, who founded the clinic, rock climbs with her husband and explores photography.

Houk used her education as a registered nurse to start the center, a stand-alone, flat-fee clinic that is "solely devoted to diabetes" and runs on private donations.

The need for diabetes awareness and treatment is growing, said speaker Dr. Pratheep Arora, citing 8 million people who are unaware they have it. Complications can be severe and deadly, he said: blindness, heart disease and stroke, hypertension, kidney disease and amputation. Because of that, he anticipates that a fasting blood sugar level of 126, currently the control number that indicates a person has diabetes, is expected to be lowered to 100 to catch the disease earlier.

Entertaining at the benefit was the Wayne Wilkinson Trio.

For information about the Diabetes Community Center:

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