: 18 Nov 2011
Over 12,000 UAE residents came together to raise awareness about diabetes during the third walkathon organised by the Landmark Group at the Oasis Centre in Dubai. Eminent cricketer and an ardent campaigner for diabetes awareness, Wasim Akram, joined the walkathon for the second consecutive year.
The Beat Diabetes walk is supported by Dubai Sports Council. Other partners in the endeavour include the Rashid Hospital and Lifescan Johnson & Johnson.
Renuka Jagtiani, Vice-Chairperson, Landmark Group, and Mario Fetz, Director of External Relations at International Diabetes Federation (IDF), joined the supporters in the 3.1 km walk sporting blue 'Beat Diabetes' T-shirts.
Rashid Al Kamali, Commercial Director of Dubai Sports Council, Dr. Ghaida Kaddaha, Head of Diabetology Unit, Rashid Hospital, and Dr. Khadija Hafez, Diabetes Specialist, Rashid Hospital, also participated in the walk to express their solidarity to the cause.
To reinforce the Group's core message 'Beat Diabetes - Take the Test', free blood glucose testing booths were set up at the Oasis Centre on 14 and 18 November. The testing kiosk will remain open to the public on 19 November.
Renuka Jagtiani, Vice-Chairperson, Landmark Group, said: "The overwhelming turnout that the walkathon draws year after year is truly heartwarming. We are thankful to all the people who continue to support us in our fight against diabetes. Through the annual walkathons, the blood glucose tests and other activities that we conduct round the year, we encourage people to lead active and balanced lives."
Fitness First trainers led a mass warm-up session prior to the walkathon. Upbeat music from Dubai Drums added a fun component to the activity. Participants were also provided with complimentary t-shirts, caps, wristbands and a healthy breakfast. Live music and children's entertainment such as face-painting and balloon bending livened up the environment at the venue.
Wasim Akram said: "Living with diabetes is a daily struggle but can be managed by following a disciplined lifestyle. The condition can lead to serious consequences if not detected and controlled at an early stage. Hence, awareness is extremely crucial. It is really inspiring to see the dedication of the Landmark Group and the support they receive from the UAE residents to spread the message about diabetes."
Zulekha Hospital, HSBC, Britannia, APL Emirates, Tata Consultancy Services, First Gulf Bank, Mashreq Bank, Kuehne Nagel, Standard Chartered Bank, Gargash Insurance, Transworld Shipping Lines and Span Trading are the other entities that extended their support to the Beat Diabetes campaign.
Recent figures from International Diabetes Federation report indicate that the number of people living with diabetes around the world is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030, unless swift action is undertaken. This equals to approximately three new cases for every ten seconds of the year. The UAE has one of the highest prevalence in the world, which calls for concerted deliberation and action.
Since its launch of the Beat Diabetes campaign in the UAE in 2009, the initiative has grown in reach and participation. It currently has a presence across seven countries, including Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and India.