‘Diabetic Halloween’ fun and educational for kids

Halloween turned out to be educational for a group of studentsfrom St. John the Baptist grammar school in Brooklyn. About 60 kidsparticipated in Phi Lambda Sigma’s “Diabetic Halloween” in theQueens campus University Center Friday.

The purpose of the event was to increase diabetes awarenessamong the St. John’s community. “Our goal is to raise awareness inthe community and make it a fun day,” said Majid Kerolous,president of the Pharmacy Leadership Society. “It’s somethingdifferent that’s beneficial for everyone involved.”

The event, which was sponsored by Student Government Inc.,Haraya, Student Programming Board, AphA, Rho Chi and others, wassplit into two sessions. The first session, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,included face painting, pumpkin painting, trick- or-treating(sugar-free candy was distributed), and a spooky tour of a trailerthat was transformed into a haunted house.

Donnae Durant, a second grader, said she had fun and requested awhite flower be painted on her cheek. “I played the mummy game andI won,” she said.

Mid-session, a special speaker gave the children a brief lectureon diabetes prevention.

“We try to address the burden of diabetes and its complication,”said Dr. Dianna Berger of the NYC Department of Health DiabetesPrevention and Control Program. “We want to improve the quality oflife of New Yorkers and children at risk. This event is lovely andsome of the kids are very smart. They’ve been asking goodquestions.”

Berger said that a recent NYC survey showed that at least 25percent of children are obese. During her presentation, Bergerstated that the leading cause of diabetes is obesity and urged thechildren to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Student organization members and other St. John’s studentsvolunteered their time to lend a hand with the festivities. “Ithink it’s positive and a way that students can go outside of thesefour gigantic walls that is St. John’s,” said student Ira Yenko ofPi Kappa Phi.

The second session, an educational lecture, took place inCouncil Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. Alumnus Bernie Hughes, arepresentative from the ROCHE pharmaceutical company and PayalPatel, a sixth year Pharm-D student, were the evening’s speakers.”My goal is to give the general population a general understandingof testing their own blood sugar for diabetes,” said Hughes. “A lotof people don’t have a clear understanding of how to test. We wantto provide meters for people who can’t afford the testing right offthe bat.”

Free coupons were given for insulin meters and instructions forproper testing as well. Patel, a three-year member of PLS, coveredtopics dealing with diabetes management.

“We want parents to learn how to manage diabetes, take insulinand what glucose levels to look for,” she said. Patel also wentover what kinds of foods were beneficial to the lifestylemodification one must undergo when diagnosed with diabetes.

In addition to the students from St John the Baptist school,children from St. Mary’s Children Hospital in Brooklyn wereoriginally going to partake in the day’s events but canceled at thelast minute. “We wanted to get kids from the hospital to come, butunfortunately they had a conflict and weren’t able to come down,”said Kerolous. “We still had a great turnout. We’re trying to makethis an annual event.”