Across Canada, advocates, volunteers and partners are helping to support and promote the Canadian Diabetes Association's (CDA) fight against diabetes.

From April 12 - 19, 2015 we celebrate National Volunteer Week. This is an important opportunity to thank the more than 30,000 volunteers who support the work of the CDA. The CDA is grateful for the hard work and dedication of our volunteers who help us reach a broader number of people with more programs and services.

Below, you can read about a few of our award-winning volunteers and how they are making a difference in the lives of those living with and affected by diabetes from coast-to-coast.

Would you like to get involved? Find a volunteer opportunity near you or email volunteer@diabetes.ca.

Betty Sigfusson

Betty Sigfusson has been a member of Team Diabetes for more than 10 years, encouraging others to get active while fundraising for the CDA. She has become an ambassador, mentor, trainer and recruiter for the Team Diabetes program and has been a committee member for the “Run for Diabetes” event in Regina since 2012. She has raised more than $45,000 for the organization since her first Team Diabetes event in August 2005 and continues to be a tireless supporter. At age 65 this year, she will take part in the Kauai Half Marathon this August in support of the CDA.

Sarah Struthers

Sarah Struthers is a current member of the Saskatchewan Advocacy Committee for the CDA. A graduate of the CDA’s D-Camps for children and youth living with type 1 diabetes, she went on to volunteer with the camps as a member of the Youth in Action program. Sarah now works on provincial advocacy matters for the organization and gives talks and presentations on diabetes-related issues to a wide variety of audiences. She understands the needs and aspirations of young people living with diabetes and speaks passionately on their behalf. Even more impressive is that she does this all while working on her university degree.

Georgia Joorisity

Georgia Joorisity has been a CDA volunteer for seven years and is passionate about improving the lives of those with diabetes. After losing her son at a young age due to complications from type 1 diabetes, Georgia has committed herself to helping others affected by the disease. She is currently the regional volunteer chair for Southern Saskatchewan and has focused on bringing even more volunteers to the organization. She is a strong advocate for improving pediatric endocrinology services in the province in order to make a difference for children and youth living with type 1 diabetes.

Lori Berard

Lori Berard, certified diabetes educator, was honoured with the 2014 Charles H. Best Award. This award is named after Dr. Charles Best, co-discoverer of insulin, and is awarded to a health-care professional who has made significant contributions nationally towards the quality of life of individuals affected by diabetes. Lori is the Nurse Manager at the WRHA Health Sciences Centre Diabetes Research Group and has spent 27 years working as a diabetes educator.  She is a well-known speaker and presenter nationally as well as internationally. She volunteers locally and nationally for the CDA, including as the Chair of the National Diabetes Education Section, an executive member of the Clinical Practice Guideline Committee, Associate Editor for Canadian Journal of Diabetes, member of the National Research Council and recently chaired the CDA/Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism Conference in Winnipeg. 

Debbie Sissmore

Debbie Sissmore has been a volunteer spokesperson for the CDA for six years, talking to the public and media about living a healthy, active life with type 1 diabetes. Though Debbie lost her sight at the age of 30 due to diabetes-related complications, she has not let anything stop her from living a productive life. Debbie has run in three CDA events in Peterborough and, as honorary chair, gave a motivational talk before each race. She made a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health about the need for continued funding for type 1 diabetes research, among many other presentations, and volunteers for the editorial advisory board for Diabetes Dialogue.

To make a difference in your community, search for a volunteer opportunity near you or email volunteer@diabetes.ca for more information.
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