Diabetes Alert ‘Couch to 5k’ Run/Walk gives proceeds to local children for diabetes camp

As the semester drags on and finals loom on the horizon, health is the last thing on many students’ minds. However, the rising diabetes percentage in Ohio may force students to reconsider their priorities.

In an effort to combat the effects of diabetes for local children, the Diabetes Institute at Ohio University and UMA Diabetes/Endocrine Center is hosting the Diabetes Alert “Couch to 5k” Run/Walk on Saturday.

The proceeds from the event will provide children from the surrounding area an opportunity to attend a diabetes camp. At these camps, children can be around others who have shared their illness and their struggle. For many of them, it will be their first time away from their parents.

Community Health/Diabetes Nurse Educator Carole Merckle said these camps are geared toward educating children on diabetes-related issues and on allowing kids to participate in activities they may not have known they could experience due to their disease.

“Just because they have diabetes doesn't mean they can't swim and hike and run,” Merckle said.

Courtney Mihocik, a freshman studying journalism, said diabetes has not barred the way to experiencing college life in Athens.

“I still go out,” Mihocik said. “Sometimes I have to wait a few minutes in case my blood sugar's low and I have to test. It really doesn't restrict you unless you let it restrict you.”

The Ohio Department of Health found that approximately 10 percent of Ohioans were diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, a 37 percent increase from 2000. The department also estimates that in Athens County, roughly 8 to 10 percent of residents 20 years or older are diagnosed with diabetes, setting Athens below the average for diabetics in Ohio. However, this does not make an individual student less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.

“If you have family members with diabetes, then you would have to be a lot more concerned than just a regular person,” said Gina Wilberger, a nurse at the Campus Care Center. “But, obviously that's not to say you can't develop it.”


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