Dawn-Marie Clark

Dawn-Marie Clark

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Many people think that diabetes is not a big deal-that all you have to do is to take a pill and it goes away. This is just not true. Diabetes affects all aspects of your life. When my dad, Joe, was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 years ago, it was no big deal. He simply took a pill. About 5 years ago, he underwent cataract surgery and came out seeing perfectly.

Today, at 70, and on insulin with a needle, he struggles each day with increasingly poor eyesight, a lack of feeling or pain in both his hands and feet and uncontrollable blood sugar levels. This is what diabetes can do to you if you don’t realize it until it is too late.

Five years ago, I was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and reflux disease. I was also considered borderline diabetic at that time. I have gone through a "discovery process" and decided I was going to "Stop Diabetes" for me. Today I do both: I eat better and I get exercise to help prevent the onset of diabetes. I have lost 63 pounds, and I am healthier now. It is all in my numbers: my blood work has tremendously improved because of losing weight, and all of the above indications are GONE!

As I talk to other individuals about diabetes, especially those who are under 40, I find that they do not know much about it. I hope that people will educate themselves about diabetes-with the Association’s help-and ultimately will take care of themselves by eating well, exercising, and getting their blood sugar levels checked at least once a year by asking their doctor for a simple blood test: the "A1C" test.

For those friends over 50 where many of them have the disease, I ask a favor, and that is to start exercising and to do as much research on their own so they can be empowered to "Stop Diabetes" for themselves. And to please have your blood sugar level tested frequently to monitor your own progress.

In addition to improving my own health, I wanted to help those who already have diabetes by raising money for the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation and to raise awareness about this devastating disease.

For the first time in 13 years, as a trained soprano, I held a voice recital in October 2009 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, singing 19 of my favorite songs in 4 languages to benefit the American Diabetes Association’s Research Foundation. It took a lot of effort and coordination, but the results were amazing! Friends and family were extremely generous, as I raised nearly $1,000 for diabetes research. However, what was priceless was the amount of good dialogue that was started about diabetes and helping the American Diabetes Association.

An experience like this shows us how many small donations can lead to something big! Think about how 5 bucks or 20 bucks and how it can turn into a thousand dollars! That was and is amazing to ME! Anything is possible. With a new outlook on health AND a new body, I want to continue to use my singing and to help "Stop Diabetes" and to continue to raise awareness to all ages about the disease.

What are you going to do today about this silent killer and to "Stop Diabetes"?

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