Get Involved: National Diabetes Awareness Programs

Chances are that even if you're not diabetic, you have a friend or relative who is. Some 285 million people worldwide have the disease, and that figure is expected to jump to 438 million by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), as reported on

If you'd like to get involved in trying to find a cure, raising awareness about the disease, or simply learning more about diabetes, there are plenty of opportunities.

Among the programs aimed at stopping diabetes is Dribble to Stop Diabetes, a large multimedia campaign that is meant to nudge fans into adopting a healthy lifestyle. A collaboration between the American Diabetes Association, Sanofi-Aventis U.S., the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA Development League, Dribble to Stop Diabetes has got some big names attached to it. Campaign managers are Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics, and NBA legends Walt Frazier and Chris Dudley, according to

The American Diabetes Association also is hoping to spark interest in its Join the Million Challenge. As part of the program, individuals are encouraged take the Diabetes Risk Test  to see if they might be at risk for getting Type 2 diabetes. (The test asks questions about age, family history, and weight, among other factors.) The "Join the Million Challenge" kicked off on Diabetes Alert Day (March 22) and runs until April 22.   

If you're feeling energetic and like to bike, a couple of opportunities await beckon. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)  sponsors Ride to Cure Diabetes. Riders raise money needed to fund treatments, and they also strive to attain a personal training goal as they get ready for a biking experience.

You don't have to be an expert rider: options are designed for riders at various fitness levels. There are various fundraising and mileage options, too.

The American Diabetes Association has been sponsoring its href="" target="_blank">Tour de Cure, a fundraising bike ride, for 20 years. Founded in 1991 with just a few cities, it's now in more than 80 cities around the country. Gold's Gym, a Tour de Cure sponsor, offers a 12-week training plan with assorted cross-training exercises for those who plan to ride.

If you'd rather walk than cycle, the ADA sponsors Step Out: Walk to Cure Diabetes. You can form your own team, join a team, or even be a "virtual walker" by donating money but not actually walking.

And you don't necessarily have to get out there and exercise. Through the href="" target="_blank">American Diabetes Association, you also can become a volunteer. To volunteer close to home, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).



"NBA Joins American Diabetes Association and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. To Support New Dribble To Stop Diabetes Awareness Campaign." 18 February 2011. Medical News Today.

"Clinical trial will test whether surgery is the best option for Type 2 diabetes, even for patients who aren't obese." 11 February 2011. Medical