Lions Clubs and Diabetes are Sworn Enemies
by Louis Garza III
Past President, Alvin Evening Lions Club
When you think of Lions Clubs, what comes to mind first?  Is it the bright yellow vest?  What about our Texas Lions Camp that gives the opportunity to children with Type 1 Diabetes and special physical needs to enjoy summer camp free of charge?  More than likely, you associate Lions Clubs with white canes and sight preservation.  We are the ones who use the white cane, the international symbol for blindness, to raise money for research, medication, Seeing Eye dogs and of course white canes for people who live with visual impairment and blindness. 
This commitment to sight preservation goes all the way back to 1925 when a courageous woman named Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness".  We as Lions accepted this challenge and we have been fighting ever since.  Our efforts span the globe.  Lions provide eyeglasses, eye exams, medication and hope to people regardless of their age, race, religion or nationality.
Through years of research by government and private institutions, we know without a doubt there is a direct link between Diabetes Mellitus and blindness.   Because of this, diabetes awareness was adopted as a long-term commitment by Lions Clubs in March 1984.  The Lions’ work in this area supports diabetes education, prevention, control and research. A primary objective of this program is to reduce the number of new cases of blindness caused by Diabetic Retinopathy. 
Diabetic retinopathy is the name used to define the long term damage that diabetes does to the human eye.  It is estimated that people who suffer from uncontrolled diabetes for longer than 10 years have an 80% chance of suffering from diabetic retinopathy.  So far, there is no cure.  In this case, eye exams and prevention is the best treatment. Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs. This simple fact makes this disorder very dangerous.
People with both Type 1 (juvenile) and Type 2 (adult onset) Diabetes are at risk for Diabetic Retinopathy.  Because of facts such as this and the fact that Americans are being diagnosed as diabetic at an alarming rate, the Centers for Disease Control has deemed diabetes an epidemic.
In the near future, The Alvin Evening Lions Club will work hard to bring all the tools necessary to fight diabetes into our community.  We are working to organize free eye and diabetes screenings.  We are also working on a diabetes fundraiser event.  Presently, we are still working in partnership with the Alvin Noon Lions Club to recycle old eyeglasses and provide new eyeglasses for the students of Alvin ISD who are in need.  As Lions, ordinary people are empowered to do extraordinary things.  It was Helen Keller who also reminded us that "alone we can do so little, together we can do so much".  That is the spirit that lives today.
The fight against Diabetes Mellitus is a personal one for me.  I am a diabetic.  I come from a long line of diabetics,  so I come by it honestly.  I fight this fight in memory of my parents, my oldest sister and my only brother.  I don't do it for myself, I do it for others.  I'm fighting for my community.  I was born in Alvin and my heart is here.  And as a Lion, I will answer Helen Keller's challenge to be a knight for the blind in the crusade.  I will face the enemy only armed with knowledge and a white cane.


Louie’s Splendid Banana Muffins

(Makes 12 muffins)

3 or 4 Large bananas, mashed (the more bananas the moister)
1/2 cup Splenda
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the mashed banana, Splenda, egg , vanilla, and margarine together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix wet and dry ingredients all together, being careful not to over-stir! Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees oven for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!
·         Note: For smaller muffins, adjust the baking time. The smaller the muffins, the shorter the baking time.
*These are much more flavorful the next day, and they freeze very nicely too!
*Also, if you like walnuts, you can throw a handful of those in there as well for some added flavor and texture.


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