Award-winning Ben Vereen takes STAND against diabetes

April 10, 2010 5:49:35 PM PDT
Tony Award-winning, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated actor, dancer and singer Ben Vereen is playing a different role these days.

(RELEASE) As a person living with type 2 diabetes, Ben is working to bring much-needed attention to the growing diabetes epidemic and is "taking a stand" as a diabetes advocate and role model. He is traveling across the country to encourage people living with or affected by diabetes to join him in a national movement for better blood sugar control.

As part of this movement, he will be speaking at the American Diabetes Association EXPO Chicago at Navy Pier, Festival Hall B on Saturday, April 10. The EXPO is free and includes health screenings, cooking demonstrations, product and service exhibitors, as well as leading experts talking about diabetes management and prevention. You'll get the latest information on preventing and managing diabetes and its deadly complications.

There is a clear need for innovative ways to create widespread understanding of the importance of blood sugar control, Ben explains. Diabetes is a chronic, widespread condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, the hormone needed to transport glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells of the body for energy. Every 21 seconds, another American is diagnosed with diabetes, and nearly 24 million Americans are living with the disease. Cases of diabetes are skyrocketing, and the American Diabetes

Association has estimated that 50 million Americans will have diabetes by 2025. There are an estimated 5.7 million who remain undiagnosed. At the same time, about 40 percent of those diagnosed are with diabetes are not in control of their blood sugar levels, leaving them at an increased risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

"When I was first diagnosed I did the things my doctor recommended -- watching my diet, exercising more and taking my diabetes medication -- but I wasn't comfortable

checking my blood sugar in public," said Ben Vereen. "But I've overcome my discomfort with the help of friends and family because I've learned that it's so essential to control my blood sugar. Now checking my blood sugar is as comfortable as using my cell phone and my blood sugar is under control!"

Along with promoting Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), a leading national not-for-profit diabetes education organization, Ben is calling on Americans to Start Taking Action Now for Diabetes (S.T.A.N.D.). Made possible with support from sanofi-aventis U.S., S.T.A.N.D. is a program focusing on the importance of diabetes awareness and blood-sugar control to help dispel the myths and misperceptions about diabetes and diabetes treatment options.

For more information for more information.

Saturday, April 10
10 am to 4 PM
American Diabetes Association EXPO
Navy Pier, Festival Hall B
600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

Admission is free

*Note: These are the hours of the expo. Ben will speak at about 10:20 am; he'll stay to sign autographs and meet fans until about 1 pm.