April 6, 2022 – While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented many organizations, including the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM), from business as usual with in-person programming and events, the partnership between the NKFM and the Lions Club of Michigan flourished. “Lions Clubs International is the largest organization in the world with a primary mission to prevent blindness,” explains Lion Dave Hill (right), Council Chair of the Lions Clubs of Michigan. “The greatest cause of both blindness and kidney failure in the United States is Type 2 diabetes. This makes the NKFM one of the Lions’ greatest partners in providing programs to prevent diabetes.”
From 2019 through the present, the NKFM provided programs that helped the Lions of Michigan reach about 15,000 people statewide. Participants learned to prevent or live with diabetes through two programs, DAD (Defense Against Diabetes) and the DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program). During the pandemic, many Lions Clubs throughout the state helped to fund programs virtually so they could still reach people.
On April 5, leadership from several Lions districts and the NKFM held a video conference to celebrate the goals they have accomplished together. Along with two champions of the partnership, Lions Ron Coleman (far left) and Roger Blackwell (left), Lion Dave Hill presented a thank you plaque to Linda Smith-Wheelock, NKFM President and CEO.
“Through the combined effort of both organizations, we have been able to provide the DPP at little or no cost to the participants,” stated Hill when he presented the thank you plaque. “In addition, we developed an eight-week online DAD program that will enable us to help many more people who are ‘at-risk’.”
Ed Bohach, an NKFM Senior Program Coordinator, who has worked closely with the Lions over the past three years, expressed his gratitude: “Thank you all for this amazing honor and for giving us the opportunity to provide life changing and lifesaving programs to many people in the state. We are looking forward to our continued work together.”
“We are so appreciative of the Lions,” Smith-Wheelock stated at the conference. “We want you to know how incredible you all are with your innovation and your generosity. This has been such a synergistic partnership. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”