Despite the sweltering heat, martial artists from all over East County not only put on an exhibition of their martial skills, they shared how they go about raising both diabetes awareness and the funds to help combat the disease.
The martial artists, ranging in age from 5 to 55, represented East Bay Karate Do and Nunley's Karate Do of Pittsburg; Delta One Martial Arts, which has schools in both Antioch and Discovery Bay; and from Brentwood, Bamboo Village, Twin Tigers Martial Arts and Ricardo Barros Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
This year, martial artists were not the only ones wowing the crowd. Brianne Harris and her special pal Destiny, a small black retriever trained as a medical alert dog, treated the audience to a special demonstration on behalf of Dogs For Diabetics, headquartered in Concord.
Dogs For Diabetics trains dogs to alert their owners to sudden changes in blood sugar levels before they plummet into dangerous territories. Harris explained to those in attendance how these dogs are trained to sense changes in blood sugar, especially those experienced mostly by Type I Diabetics.
Although MAAD's campaign was designed to fight off the rapid rise in Type II Diabetes among children, it is expanding its outreach to include all diabetics. Type II Diabetes, which primarily affected adults, has recently begun affecting a greater number of young children due to physical inactivity. MAAD is attempting to show that participation in martial arts is one of the activities that can help stave off Type II Diabetes.
"We launched this campaign to make a much greater positive impact on our youth, with just one example of how to go about helping to prevent this fast-growing disease - with physical activity," said MAAD Director Lou Davis.
"We realize that martial arts is not the only way, but over the years, as increasing numbers of people are finding out, this form of exercise is proving to make a major difference in our physical well being," Davis said.
Last year MAAD raised $2,000 and donated funds to the American Diabetes Association and the Diabetic Youth Foundation. This year, in order to reach its goal of $2,500, the group is selling raffle tickets for an additional two weeks. The drawing will be held during the first week of September.
For more information about MAAD, visit www.maadamerica.org, or call 305-7344. To learn more about Dogs For Diabetics, visit www.dogs4diabetics.com.