Fergus Lions Club help ‘shine a light on diabetes’

FERGUS – The morning of Nov. 13, Fergus Lions Club director and Diabetes Canada volunteer Brian Martin, alongside Ben Collings and Bob Zirk from the club, set up strings of blue Christmas lights behind the Fergus library for World Diabetes Day (WDD).

WDD takes place every year on Nov. 14, the birthdate of Dr. Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin alongside Charles Best in 1921.

Since the introduction of the blue circle as the global symbol for diabetes awareness in 2006, monuments, buildings and homes around the world have been “shining a light on diabetes” with the colour blue for WDD.

This year marked the first time since 2021 that the Fergus Lions set up the blue lights.

“The whole idea is to raise awareness,” said Martin.

He added the Fergus Lions Club used to light up the bridge railings up to the Templin Gardens and then to the trees behind the library.

“That gave the Goofy Newfie the inspiration to put their own lights on,” Martin added.

However, as years went on he noted “vandals would either cut [the lights] or the wires out. They would remove the blue lenses… and they would smash or throw them in the river.”

Lions members decided to move the lights to the railings at the back of the library this year to prevent this from happening.

“It faces onto the area called the Riverwalk, and we’ve got the marketplace and the Goofie Newfie restaurant and people from the main bridge or just the Howard Street bridge can still see it,” he said.

Along with the lights, the Lions Club put up a sign with the Diabetes Canada logo and its own logo with the words “Support diabetes awareness.” 

The lights and sign will be up until the end of November, which is also National Diabetes Awareness Month.

“It’s to make people stop and think of the simplest thing to do,” Martin began. “Go to the diabetes website, diabetes.ca and take the test.”

Diabetes Canada has a test on its website that asks questions to find out individual risk factors of having prediabetes of type 2 diabetes. 

“Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes,” Diabetes Canada states on its website.

“You can have prediabetes or undiagnosed type 2 diabetes without having any obvious warning signs or symptoms.”

To take the test, visit diabetes.ca. For more information on WDD, visit worlddiabetesday.org.

Photo by Brian Martin