Diabetes awareness highlighted on postal stamp

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2001

About 16 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and about a third of them are unaware they have this chronic disease.

A new U.S. Diabetes Postal Stamp was recently released to promote diabetes awareness. Bartlett Regional Hospital joined the U.S. Postal Service, the American Diabetes Association, the Mendenhall Flying Lions and the Southeast Panhandlers in a ceremony unveiling this commemorative stamp.

The ceremony, held recently in the lobby of Bartlett Hospital, celebrated this stamp designed to increase understanding and encourage early diagnosis of this widespread disease.

Each year there are more than 100 people newly diagnosed with diabetes in Juneau, and there are 20 or 30 more in northern Southeast Alaska. "This incurable disease can be controlled with proper treatment and management, but awareness and education are critical in this process," said Don Novotney, a patient and diabetes educator with Bartlett Regional Hospital. "This U.S. postal stamp is a very valuable reminder to us that this disease is serious, but awareness and support can make a huge difference in its impact."

The 34-cent stamp carries the message, "Know More About Diabetes," and features two elements associated with diabetes research - a microscope and a test tube.

37,000 Alaskans, many of them children, live with diabetes every day.

"Joy and a terrific sense of hope accompany the release of the diabetes stamp," reads a proclamation by Gov. Tony Knowles. "Increased awareness brings early diagnosis, and with that more successful treatment to reduce the disease's life-threatening complications."

Diabetes is a chronic, genetically determined, debilitating disease affecting every organ system. Insulin is a life support, but not a cure. There is no cure for this disease yet, though, as the governor's proclamation points out, there is hope through research.

Since the 1950s, the Postal Service has issued stamps that highlight social awareness issues. Stamps such as Breast Cancer Research, Organ Tissue Donation, and Adoption have helped stimulate conversation about these serious topics in communities from coast to coast.

For more information on the Diabetes Awareness stamp, call the USPS at (800) STAMP-24 or visit www.usps.com and click on Postal Store. For more information on diabetes, call the American Diabetes Association at 1-888-Diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org or call Don Novotney, patient and diabetes educator with Bartlett Hospital at 463-8649.

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