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Nov 13, 2014

Healthy Living shows you the face of diabetes

This Friday, November fourteenth, will be commemorated as World Diabetes Day. The day is spent advocating and building awareness about this very prevalent condition. It is estimated that up to fifty thosuand Belizeans are living with diabetes and, the condition does not discriminate, it affects the young and the old, men and women, rich and poor. But what is it really like – living with diabetes? For tonight’s Healthy Living, I teamed up with the Belize Diabetes Association to find out more about the faces of diabetes in Belize.


Karen Rhaburn

“Well I am sweet…”


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It is estimated that one in every 6 Belizeans is living with Diabetes. Diabetic cases have been on the rise globally spurring an increased effort to get people to live healthier and prevent diabetes. And for diabetics to maintain a healthy lifestyle and in order to prevent complications.


Clyde Lewis, Diabetic for 2 years, BDA Volunteer

Clyde Lewis

“I came to find out I had diabetes when I was at home, I was eating, it was my birthday then the other day when I woke up I started feeling bad. As I ate my breakfast I start throwing up. And as I went to the health center and she asked me who was my father because she know my father have diabetes too. The she called the ambulance, hooked up and IV to me and I went to the doctor.”


Clyde Lewis was seventeen years old when he was diagnosed with diabetes. Even though his father’s a diabetic; his immediate fears were on the worse possible scenario.


Clyde Lewis

“I deh like I hope I no dead now, because my cousin died form it but that is because he was on dialysis.”


53 year old Joel Torres also had a family history of diabetes, and being well aware of the symptoms; he decided to get tested.


Joel Torres

Joel Torres, Diabetic for 20 years

“My mother was actually a diabetic, my brother died of diabetes and my mother died of diabetes. Back then at that time my mom was diagnosed, my brother was diagnosed and when I was around thirty three I decided to get tested and I found out that myself was diabetic. I use to get tired, my foot bottom use to itch, I use to get thirsty a lot and really felt drained by 5 or 6 in the evening, I felt very drained. Knowing my mom’s condition that when I decide you know what its best that I check with the doctor if this really happened. Acceptance is a thing, first denial then acceptance. The your life start to have a change and by knowing you can take it two-fold you can either say okay I will eat sleep drink whatever or you can say am gonna take my meds and change my lifestyle. I watched my brother self-destructive, continued his lifestyle with no change, mom continued lifestyle change, my brother died fifty-seven, my mother died seventy-nine I go like I could make it to a hundred. It was a lifestyle & education.”


Clyde Lewis

“I was most scared of taking the shots. You can’t eat anything; you have to slow doen n all the sweet stuff. Everyone is pressuring you; you can’t eat this you can’t eat that, just make you feel like kinda crazy.”


Clyde admits that being diagnosed in the midst of his teenage years did come with its additional pressures


Clyde Lewis

“With my friends I stay far from they sometimes…because some ah deh eat and drink, eat ice cream drink soft drinks and I just try ignore it but it’s a hard challenge. The alcohol it all depends on how you manage your blood sugar levels. I tell they I sick so I can’t drink like that but they will say take a little sip but I’ll say I can’t.”


For volunteer & diabetic, 20 year old Karen Rhaburn, she feels that children and young adults have a more difficult time adjusting to the lifestyle changes too. Having been diagnosed at 11 it was part of herown reality.



Karen Rhaburn

aren Rhaburn, Diabetic for 11 years, BDA Volunteer

“I don’t think it’s easier it’s just that your still learning so when you get of age of maybe forty you know what you’re supposed to do. But I don’t think it is easier, I think it is more challenging, you want to go out, you want to party. I don’t go out, I don’t party, I don’t drink. You see people eating certain things and you can’t get it. Especially at school its more challenging because you can’t say I am going to buy a vegetable salad, you have to eat what the school has. Not all the time you can have it and sometime s financially, you can’t get it. They tell you eat healthy but diabetics don’t have a certain diet. You just cut down pan di salt and the fat and the things like that.”


Karen, Clyde & Joel have all become actively involved with the Belize Diabetes Association, to help keep themselves informed but more importantly to help others; which is one of the main focus of the organization.


Michelle Godoy, Belize Diabetes Association Secretariat

Michelle Godoy

“The association is a support group for people living with diabetes. We basically educate person on the condition and to be a supporter for them. Her at the office we have monitors we have kits that are at a reasonable price. We also assist children with type 1 diabetics on a monthly base and for those who can’t afford getting a monitor, we help them that they don’t walk away with not having a monitor to do their blood sugar testing.”


Joel Torres

“There was a diabetes walk and then suggestions came up, why don’t we do a diabetes ride and the idea was born. And that is when I got more involved and began living even better, doing more exercise, waking up four in the morning and putting in some mileage. And when I do that the meds people gets less meds for me because meds is expensive, that money I put it in the bike instead of having to put it in the pill.”


Karen Rhaburn

 “Since I have been at the diabetes association, it help me a lot with education, getting my medication also how to control and managing diabetes. I’m now open enough to say well confident to say I am diabetic, living with it for so much year, opening up to people telling them about diabetes, how it affect you, what symptoms and stuff. I use to afraid to tell people but I learn that it’s a condition that you develop.”


Clyde Lewis

“I start to volunteer because I want to learn more about the sickness so I can help manage myself and teach others.”


For the past two weeks there have been many activities geared at building diabetes awareness; like the Health Fair hosted by BFLA on Wednesday and another planned by BDA & partners for Friday at Battlefield Park. You can also participate at the association monthly meetings.


Michelle Godoy

“We encourage people to come out to be a member at the association, we also have a monthly that is held every third Saturday of the month. This Saturday we will be having our November meeting at the K.H.M.H. conference room at 4 o’clock.”


Clyde Lewis

 “Those people who don’t stick to their diets will end up dying from other chronic for other disease. My advice da just relax, calm yourself down, do as the doctors says and visit the doctor often.”


Joel Torres

“A lot of you guys out there and not only guys I mean girls too, have diabetes and don’t know. You need fi get tested.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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