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A Poipourri Of Health And Sports

Dr. Laurie Tom (clockwise, from top), singer/actress Della Reese, spokeswoman for American Diabetes Association, and the author at a TCOYD conference in Honolulu | Photo courtesy TCOYD

Dr. Laurie Tom (clockwise, from top), singer/actress Della Reese, spokeswoman for American Diabetes Association, and the author at a TCOYD conference in Honolulu | Photo courtesy TCOYD

It’s that time of year when the conch shell is blown as a signal to island residents to sign up to “take control of your diabetes” (TCOYD) through the 15th annual TCOYD Conference and Health Fair Saturday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hawaii Convention Center.

The statistics are staggering and approaching epidemic proportions: 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, and more than 70 million are at high risk for having the disease because they have high blood sugar.

Closer to home, 113,000 people in Hawaii have diabetes, with Native Hawaiians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders most vulnerable to the disease. Unfortunately, there also are people in denial who refuse to seek treatment. Prediabetes also is on the rise in the state, with nearly 365,000 people considered to be at that stage.

Other risk factors for diabetes include family history, being overweight and obese, women having gestational diabetes during pregnancy often resulting in the infant weighing more than 9 pounds at birth, and also just advancing age.

If you fall within any of these categories, be proactive about it and take a minute to go online to diabetes.org/risktest. Take the exam and find out your score. If you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, see a doctor, because the good news is that studies have shown that diabetes can be prevented and managed with a healthy diet, regular exercise and weight loss.

That’s why the TCOYD conference is such a wonderful opportunity to learn about diabetes in a positive, fun and affordable environment. There will be educational, inspirational and motivational sessions led by Dr. Steven Edelman and his team based out of San Diego, partnering with Hawaii’s local diabetes health professionals, including conference co-directors Dr. Laurie Tom and Viola Genadio. The focus will be on teaching patients and their children how to live well with diabetes. Local media celebrities Billy V and Mele Apana will illustrate how their Na’au Therapy can help and inspire you. There also will be lots of vendors at the health fair booths, with great information provided by experts and volunteers available to answer your questions and address your concerns. And you will be able to enjoy a healthy and nutritious lunch while hearing from Dr. Stephen Ponder, a Native American who has been living with diabetes since he was 9 years old.

Registration fee is $20, or $15 per person for two or more registering together. Register online at tcoyd.com, or on site the day of the event for $25. Financial aid also is available. All you do is ask your caregiver for help or call the TCOYD office at (800) 998-2693.

Speaking of examples of physical fitness and healthy lifestyles, eight of Hawaii’s most talented scholar/athletes have been selected to be a part of the latest edition of Team Aloha basketball that will head to the Mainland in late April to play in the Arizona Elite Spring Classic.

This is the eighth group of young women who have made this sojourn to the Mainland, which enables them to gain exposure in front of college scouts and hopefully attract interest and scholarship offers.

The other benefit is that it has helped demonstrate that our local wahine can compete at the highest levels, as evidenced by the fact that Team Aloha has won 75 percent of its games, including one in 2006 when it won the prestigious Nike Storm and Swish tournament in California.

TA alumni who received scholarships from Division I colleges competing this season include Konawaena’s Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa at Washington State; Milika Taufa and Maiki Viela from Lahainaluna playing at Indiana and Gonzaga; Punahou’s Shawna Kuehu and Kalei Adolpho of Molokai, of UH’s Rainbow Wahine squad; and Iolani’s Alex Masaquel at William and Mary, and Kylie Maeda, whose BYU Cougars advanced to this year’s NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen.

The Lady Cougars also gave a scholarship to Kamehameha-Kapalama senior Alohi Robins-Hardy, a three-time TA player. In years past, TA alumni also have received scholarships to other Division 1 powers, including UNLV, USC, UC-Berkeley and Utah, to name a few.

Looking to build on this tradition, from the 2014 roster is the state’s most outstanding player, sophomore Chanelle Molina of Konawaena, who will joined by her classmate Ihi Victor; state champion Punahou’s Tyra Moe; 6-foot-2 post Jeneva Toilolo of Farrington; Hilo’s Alexis Pana; Patria Vaimoana of Kailua; Millilani’s Shantel Appleby; and from Maui, Lindsay Bates of Lahainaluna.

One of the assistants to head coach Fran Villarmia-Kahawai is Keisha Kanekoa, a former Honokaa standout who, like Villarmia-Kahawai, lettered at UH. Kanekoa was a member of the 2006 TA championship team that was tutored by former UH head coach Dana Takehara-Dias.