Because of a grant, diabetic Greenville woman turns her life around

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:46 am on Thursday, December 01, 2011
Bobbie Kieff, right, shows Becky Berens items used in meetings to discuss food options. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — One local woman is getting help to change her life around because of a grant the Greenville Area Community Foundation received.

Becky Berens of Greenville was diagnosed as a diabetic seven years ago. She was told about the diabetes at the time, but was suffering from other health issues and did not pay attention to it.
“It went out the window,” Berens said. “It didn’t really hit me.”

She tried to stick to healthy eating and other recommendations for diabetics, but she said it was very hard.

About six months ago, Berens doctor and her nurses told her she was at the top of the mountain with her health. She had two options: Keep doing what she was doing and go over the mountain with bad health or make some life changing decisions.

Berens decided to change her life.

She knew there were classes available at United Lifestyles in Greenville to help her get on the right track, but Berens was not sure how she was going to pay for them. She was going to have to pay $50 to $60 per hour for the classes out-of-pocket because her insurance did not cover them.

Bobbi Kieff, diabetes program director at the Greenville Area Community Foundation, wrote and received a grant to help those who are not insured or underinsured to receive the classes.

The grant allowed the foundation to help 30 individuals in 2011. The grant was also renewed for 2012 to help an additional 30 people.

Kieff said the classes help patients to understand what they are going through.

The classes are designed to be one-on-one with the patient and educators to help make  patients feel more comfortable and better understand what is going on.

“It’s more comfortable being one-on-one,” Berens said. “This was a whole new lifestyle for me and they were so loving and caring.”

The classes cover topics such as learning to live with diabetes, meal planning, stress and weight management and lifestyle changes.

Berens struggled with learning how to eat right. She met a lady whose husband went through the same thing and was able to shop with her to help pick the right food.

Now that Berens is learning the right items to buy and learning to cook the right meals, she said the process is getting easier.

Since June, Berens has lost more than 19 pounds, lowered her blood sugar levels and stopped taking seven medications.

“You have to learn to be responsible for yourself,” Berens said. “I thank God for United Lifestyles and the Greenville Area Community Foundation that they care so much about our community and that they are willing to go the extra mile for each and every one of us.”

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