Summit Raises Awareness About Diabetes

It’s estimated that 262,000 adults in Oregon now have diabetes, with an additional 6,900 expected to develop it each year. Its prevalence is about 35 percent higher than it was 10 years ago. Experts guess that some 76,000 in Oregon have undiagnosed diabetes. With those numbers in mind, a recent summit was held in Central Oregon to spread awareness about this potentially fatal condition and to promote healthy living with diabetes.

“It’s an opportunity for the Bend community to come together and tell officials and city leaders about their concerns pertaining to diabetes, whether that is resource availability or treatment plans or access to healthy work environments and so forth,” said event spokeswoman Rebecca Einhorn. “We want to give them a venue to discuss their concerns and make sure that their officials know about them.”

Held at the Riverhouse Convention Center, the event kicked off with a live, diabetic-friendly cooking demonstration with celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, a Bend native who made it to the finals of Bravo’s Top Chef reality cooking competition. Summit attendees were able to participate and even judge one another’s easy-to-prepare, tasty recipes, and better yet, they received recipes to take home to make healthy eating a habit. In the second portion of the summit, participants were able to meet with community leaders and health professionals to discuss their concerns and ideas in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.

One of the speakers attending the event was Bob Kolenkow, 76, a retiree living in Berkley, California who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 45. At the time, he said, it was devastating news.

“I was pretty upset about this,” said Kolenkow, who taught physics and worked in Silicon Valley during his career after earning degrees from MIT and Harvard University. “I was facing the possibility of a shorter life and possibly living with serious complications.” After the diagnosis, he quickly adjusted his thinking, asking the question: “What’s the best thing I can do to live with it and manage it properly?” He found out that many of the things he would need to do to successfully manage diabetes were things he should’ve been doing already.

“A lot of it has to do with just the kind of things you should do if you want to live a healthy life: a healthy diet and regular exercise, and stress management, if possible,” he said, adding that he’d just finished a bike ride in the hills. Disciplined use of proper medication and insulin is also key, he said. “I keep careful records of what I’m doing.” Keeping busy even in retirement, Kolenkow now travels the country speaking at various diabetes events to spread the word about healthy living. “I was able to live a very productive life largely due to managing my diabetes and a little bit of luck,” he said.

People facing a diabetes diagnosis need to take the initiative to be responsible for their own health and find the will and motivation to stick to a healthy lifestyle, Kolenkow said. “The real tough issue is a lot of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, they’re just taught the nuts and bolts,” he said. “I go to an endocrinologist four times a year for 15 minutes each time, and the rest of the time it’s up to me. It’s what I do to manage it.” Joining a support group is one great way to find motivation, he said. “If we have other people around supporting us, sometimes we will do better,” he said. As for those who haven’t yet been diagnosed with diabetes, Kolenkow advocates the importance of screenings. “A lot of people have diabetes and don’t actually know it,” Kolenkow said.

Early detection of diabetes can prevent complications that arise from having low blood sugar. The effects of diabetes on Oregon’s population are not to be taken lightly. According to the state Department of Human Services, the cost of diabetes hospitalizations in 2006 was over $1.1 billion, with medical costs numbering over $2 billion. Bend and its surrounding Congressional District spends an estimated $475,000,000 on diabetes-related costs each year, according to a news release from sanofi-aventis U.S., a pharmaceutical company that put on the Bend diabetes summit as part of its Healthy Communities – Healthy Neighbors program. The DHS reports that in 2005, diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in the state, with more than 30 percent of those deaths occurring in people younger than 75.

Economically disadvantaged Oregonians are 1.5 times more likely than the rest of the population to have diabetes, and it’s more prevalent among Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans and Hispanics. Oregon diabetes patients have increased rates of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, and are twice as likely to report depression. Diabetes can also contribute to blindness, amputations and kidney disease. For more information about the importance of screening for diabetes and tips on healthy living, visit www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/diabetes/index.shtml or www.diabetesinbend.org

Long Day's Journey Into Night at Artist's Rep This Summer

Long Day’s Journey Into Night is bound to be the “hot ticket” in the Pacific Northwest this year. This world-class co-production between Portland’s Artists Repertory Theatre and Australia’s Sydney Theatre Company (STC) stars Oregonians William Hurt and Todd Van Voris, as well as three Australian actors including the legendary Australian actress Robyn Nevin, Luke Mullins and Emily Russell.

The play is directed by Andrew Upton who, together with his wife, actress Cate Blanchett, is STC’s co-artistic director. Long Day’s Journey into Night begins June 29 in Sydney, Australia and August 13 in Portland. The genesis for this production came last spring as a result of discussions between Upton and Hurt about their shared passion for this great American classic. Since playing the role of Edmund Tyrone in 1975 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hurt has avidly hoped to be cast as the patriarch James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night. As a longtime friend and collaborator of Artists Rep’s Artistic Director Allen Nause, Hurt contacted Nause about co-producing this play with the Australian company.

Nause was ecstatic about the opportunity. “The production of Long Day’s Journey into Night is an exceptional, unusual opportunity for regional audiences to see a Broadway-caliber theatrical masterpiece such as this,” said Nause. “This is one of the most difficult and complex plays ever written and may well be the most challenging stage role of my friend William’s career.” One of the most powerful and gut-wrenching dramas in American literature, Long Day’s Journey Into Night is Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece.  The autobiographical story is told with such searing honesty that he stipulated it was not to be published or produced until 25 years after his death.

Audiences will be enraptured by the emotional complexity of the Tyrone family – gripped by addiction, shattered by the past, and paralyzed by the prospect of the future. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the oldest professional theatre in Portland. Artists Rep strives to challenge artists and audiences with plays of depth and vibrancy in an intimate setting and explores the strengths, frailties, and diversity of the human condition primarily through regional premieres, commissioned works, and selected classics appropriate to contemporary issues.

Producing Artistic Director Allen Nause has been leading the company for 22 years, during which the organization has experienced significant financial and artistic growth. The company produces six to eight productions in two intimate, three-quarter thrust theatres. TICKETS Long Day’s Journey Into Night August 13-September 5 at Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland Evening - Tuesday-Sunday, 7:30pm Matinee - Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, 2:00 p.m. www.artistsrep.org Artists Rep Box Office: 503-241-1278

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