Despite chilly temperatures in the mid-50's, dozens of people gathered at Palmerton Borough Park on Saturday to support the American Diabetes Association (ADA) during the second annual 5k for Diabetes fundraiser.
A total of 92 people took part in the 5k, including 67 runners. Together they raised more than $2,000 for the ADA, whose goal is to prevent, manage and cure diabetes.
"We did very well," said Carla Majczan, a volunteer for the ADA and the 5k's coordinator. "It was almost double the number of people we had last year."
She thanked the participants in attendance and the sponsors who made the program possible. Majczan also promised to begin planning the third annual fundraiser for next year.
"We will definitely do this every year," she said. "Every year, we will get bigger."
Palmerton's 5k for Diabetes is the ADA's only fundraiser in Carbon County. Majczan began the event last year after realizing that the area's ADA fundraisers do not reach communities outside of the Lehigh Valley. Prior to last year, the closest walk was held in Bethlehem.
"It allows people to do something for this cause right their neighborhood," said Majczan. "It lets more people fight for a cure."
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot convert food into energy, leading to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can over time cause serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, circulation problems, and damage to the eyes, skin or nerves. Doctors diagnose diabetes through a simple blood test.
Diabetes is now one of the most common diseases in the United States, and about one in ten adults currently have diabetes. One in four adults have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing this disease later in life.
Lauren Wiley, regional director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania ADA, was on site to help with the event. She was pleased with the turnout and happy to see the community gathering to support diabetes research.
"Every dollar we can raise helps, particularly in a difficult year like this one," she said. "Volunteers make a huge difference."
The Northeastern Pennsylvania ADA hopes to raise $100,000 this year, including funds raised at the Palmerton 5k. Their final fundraiser will take place in historic Bethlehem on October 24, 2009.
For more information on the ADA or to learn more about diabetes prevention and treatment, visit the ADA's website at www.diabetes.org.