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Singer Angie Stone headlines diabetes health expo

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), and Neo Soul performing artist, Angie Stone, will team up this weekend to arm south-metro residents with the weapons to help prevent, and defeat Type 2 Diabetes.

The 11th annual "Victory Over Diabetes" will take place Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. As the national spokesperson for Eli Lilly and Company's F.A.C.E. (Fearless African-Americans Connected and Empowered) Diabetes campaign, Stone will marshal a free, day-long event featuring diabetes-focused workshops, keynote speakers, healthy-cooking demonstrations, and free health screenings.

Stone, who has Type-2 diabetes, became aware of her disease 10 years ago. Since loosing her aunt to diabetes in 2005, she has dedicated her time to educating the black community about the dangers of the disease.

"I think some of the problem in the black community is being unaware," Stone said. "We have a nonchalant attitude that it couldn't happen to us, but we are in a direct line of having it happen to us. We have so much to live for. Part of that is being more aware of your body.

"Being fearless in the face of diabetes ... that just means accepting any challenge that you come against and knowing that you can make a change in any situation," she said. "First, you have to accept the situation."

Famous for such songs as "Baby," "Brotha," and "Sometimes," Stone will offer songs and words of wisdom during the event, she said. From 7:15 a.m., to 4 p.m., there will be foot and eye screenings, 20 educational workshops, and expert advice on ways to prevent diabetes through diet, exercise, and proper behaviors, according to event organizers.

Bertika Quintero, brand director for Eli Lilly's Diabetes Outreach U.S., said the F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign was started in Chicago in 2007 to address the growing diabetes epidemic in black and Hispanic communities. She said while Eli Lilly's primary business is developing pharmaceutical medicines, Saturday's efforts will focus on changing unhealthy behaviors.

"It's a tough position to be in when you get that diagnosis," Quintero said. "For a long time, there is a sense of denial. That denial will keep you in a vicious cycle. In this campaign, we don't discuss medicine at all. It is truly about the behavioral aspects of managing diabetes.

"We will have different vials that represent the amount of sugar in regular foods," she continued. "We have a modular grocery shelf and will provide you with [information on how] to read a food label. We will talk about portion control and what should a regular food portion look like. I hope the biggest thing we can convey is medication alone is not a solution."

Sybil Freeman, director of corporate development for the ADA, Atlanta Region, said the involvement of Stone and the F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign adds a "new dimension" to an already successful program. She believes the event will provide help for people with diabetes, those caring for someone with diabetes, and those concerned about developing diabetes.

"It's always a good opportunity to have a star come into the program," Freeman said. "It takes a successful program and turns it into an outstanding program."

While the event is free, pre-registration is mandatory, as space is limited. For more information, call the American Diabetes Association at 1(888) 342-2383, ext. 3085.