On Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day, the Omaha community was introduced to its first ever, jointly sponsored diabetes fair. Held at the University of Nebraska Omaha campus, the theme of the free health fair was “Coming Together Focused on YOU.” Eight organizations, including Nebraska Medicine, Methodist Health System, CHI Health, the Diabetes Education Center of the Midlands, Creighton University, the American Diabetes Association, Hy-Vee and the Foreman Foundation hosted the afternoon event. It proved to be a rewarding success for the partnering organizations and attendees alike.
The fair kicked off as early arrivals beelined to the free health screenings including cholesterol, blood glucose, vascular risk assessments and blood pressure checks. Throughout the afternoon, more than 40 vendor booths hummed with activity as attendees streamed through, receiving helpful information on better managing their diabetes. Participants were also encouraged to try a variety of exercises, including yoga and Zumba and received a healthy snack. Speaking of food, live cooking demonstrations, led by our Meghan McLarney, a registered dietician, included tips for giving holiday favorites a healthy makeover. They proved to be a tasty, popular activity. To view the recipes Meghan created, including a sweet potato casserole using pineapple and pecans for sweetness, click here.
At the end of the event, an “Ask the Experts” panel including a doctor, dietitian, pharmacist and diabetes educator, addressed many audience questions on how to successfully manage diabetes. More than 100 people from the community attended, returning glowing reviews of their day’s experience on exit surveys at the end of the event. Lucky raffle winners left with cookbooks, pedometers, YMCA memberships and more.
Next year’s diabetes fair is already in the works. “Take Control of Your Diabetes” will be held Saturday, October 17, 2015, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. Get this on your calendar; it will be an inspiring, empowering event not to be missed!
We are confident this is going to be a lasting, meaningful partnership. In fact, we’re already planning two years out! For 2016, we will build on lessons learned as we come together in November for National Diabetes Awareness month, embracing the theme of World Diabetes Day, “Healthy Living and Diabetes.”
In the future, we plan to grow the Metro Omaha Area Diabetes Partnership, channeling our fundraising efforts through the Foreman Foundation. The Foreman Foundation, founded by Husker football legend Jay Foreman, provides grants to non-profit organizations who serve vulnerable populations impacted by diabetes. It also makes diabetic testing supplies and medications available to families who would not otherwise be able to afford them and provides diabetes management education and support to people of all ages. It was an honor to have Jay Foreman participate in this year’s event and we look forward to working together in the years to come.