The third annual Palmerton 5K for Diabetes will take place on Saturday, Sept.18. Organizers are still accepting registration forms and encourage local runners, walkers, and all who are affected by diabetes to take part in this year's event.
The Palmerton 5K for Diabetes will raise funds for the American Diabetic Association (ADA), whose goal is to prevent, cure and manage diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot convert food into energy, leading to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can 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 the seventh leading cause of death. One in ten adults has diabetes. One in four adults have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing this disease later in life.
The Palmerton race/walk is founded and organized by volunteer Carla Majczan, who has struggled with Type 1 diabetes since childhood.
"I see how diabetes affects me, and how it affects other people," said Majczan. "Everyone knows somebody who is diabetic. And if diabetes doesn't affect someone they know, it's probably going to. It's scary, because you think about your kids. Do you want your children to be part of an epidemic?
Last year's event in Palmerton brought together nearly 100 people to raise funds and awareness for diabetes, said Majczan. She hopes that the event will continue to grow each year.
"Last year was very successful," she added. "Everyone had a very good time. And it seems like a lot of people want to get involved again this year."
She was especially pleased with the response from sponsors for this year's event - First National Bank of Palmerton, Lafayette Bank, and Essa Bank are co-sponsoring the event. Sponsors with a local branch are also forming teams to take part in the 5K.
"It's nice that people still think this is important," she said. "I like getting involved in Palmerton, because this area really doesn't have access to ADA events." While the Northeastern Pennsylvania ADA serves our area, there are no fundraisers or events in our region. The nearest ADA-sponsored walk is in Bethlehem on October 23. For Carbon County residents who are unable to travel to Bethlehem, the Palmerton 5K offers them a chance to get involved and fight against diabetes in their community.
Though Majczan struggles with her blood sugar each day, she does not define herself as a diabetic. She is an active, artistic person despite her health problems and encourages others to learn more about diabetes and overcome its challenges.
"I don't want to hold myself back because I am diabetic. If you don't understand the disease, how are you going to control it?" she added.
Registration forms for the Palmerton 5K for Diabetes are available online at www.diabetes.org  (search under "In My Community") and www.lvrunning.com  ("Race Calendar"). The race starts at 9 a.m. in Palmerton Borough Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
While participants can register up to the day of the event, organizers are encouraging runners and walkers to register as soon as possible. The entry fee is $25 per runner or walker. All donations, including the entry fee, are tax deductable. The first 100 participants will receive a T-shirt. Every participant will receive a bag filled with information about diabetes and "goodies."
Trophies will be given to the fastest male and female runners, and the top three runners in each age category will receive a metal. Walkers are non-competitive.
Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help with registration and set-up. For more information or to volunteer for the event, contact Majczan at (610) 248-0447.