Woman raising diabetes awareness with walk in mom’s memory

Gary Kean gkean@thewesternstar.com
Published on May 24, 2014
Jodi Basha holds a photo of herself and her mom Diane Wednesday. Basha is organizing a Walk for Diabetes event in Corner Brook this Sunday.
Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

Jodi Basha often gets letters requesting her business to donate to various charities and causes. A couple of months ago, one arrived from the Canadian Diabetes Association, wondering if Basha would like to make a pledge or participate in the annual Walk for Diabetes event planned for St. John’s in early June.

It was the first time Basha had seen a request from this particular organization, but diabetes is something she and her family are all too familiar with. The disease runs in her family and, last October, Basha lost her mom Diane to complications from Type 2 diabetes.

Mrs. Basha was just 60 years old and had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 20 years before. It wasn’t until 15 years after that initial diagnosis that diabetes began making life for her more difficult.

“Everybody kept saying how dangerous it can be,” Basha said. “You don’t really pay attention to that, but then all of a sudden it hit and caused so many complications we ended up losing her.”

Her mom’s last couple of years were tough, said Basha. There were numerous visits to the hospital and she required the assistance of a home support worker to deal with the worsening effects the diabetes was having on her heart, kidneys, vision and feet.

“Someone who worked all her life shouldn’t need a home care worker at age 58 or 59 years old,” reflected Basha.

Basha responded to the letter that arrived from the Canadian Diabetes Association, initially indicating she would like to raise pledges and go to St. John’s to participate in the walk in her mom’s memory. By the end of the conversation she had with the association representative, Basha had agreed to organize a Walk for Diabetes event in Corner Brook instead.

There is already a walk in support of juvenile diabetes in Corner Brook, but there hasn’t been one for the Canadian Diabetes Association itself in the city for about 15 years, Basha was told.

“It’s almost like that letter came here for that reason,” said Basha.

In the past two months, and in between her hectic day job as owner of Island Orthotics, the pedorthist has been doing nearly all of the footwork required to organize the walk. That means getting people interested in raising money through pledge sheets and contacting the proper authorities to arrange the route for the walk.

She’s also been taking care of arranging refreshments and prizes for the end of the walk.

“I didn’t realize you should have a volunteer committee for this sort of thing,” she said. “I’ve been trying to do it all.”

One incentive for people to participate is that anyone who raises $250 or more in pledges will have their name entered in a draw for a trip for two to any destination WestJet flies. That draw will take place after the walk to be held in St. John’s and will include entrants from that event

The walk in Corner Brook will take place this Sunday at 10:30 a.m., with registration taking place at 10 a.m. Walkers will leave city hall and can walk one or two loops up Park Street and back down West Street.

There will also be a table set up at the start/finish for any passers by who wish to donate.

“This is about raising awareness, not only about people who currently live with diabetes, but for people who have it in their families and want to prevent it,” said Basha, adding she’s committed to making the walk for Diabetes in Corner Brook an annual event.

For more information on the walk, visit the Facebook page Basha started titled “Walk for Diabetes.”