City, county to shine light on diabetes awareness

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Many Allegheny Health Network hospitals will be bathed in blue light starting Tuesday in the run-up to World Diabetes Day on Thursday.

The United Nations' World Health Organization and International Diabetes Federation selected that day to increase global awareness about the disease. Since 2007, those organizations have proposed illuminating buildings in blue to draw attention to the impact of diabetes. The federation's symbol for diabetes is a sky-blue circle.

Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald both will issue proclamations on Tuesday acknowledging World Diabetes Day.

Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side will light up its South Tower in blue, while blue floodlights will illuminate the entrance of Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights. Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville will turn the large sign atop its building that color, and West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield will decorate its Friendship Avenue entrance with blue lights. Canonsburg Hospital is using blue bows to mark the day.

The medical buildings will be decorated through the end of the month. Several Downtown and North Side structures -- Fifth Avenue Place, the Gulf Tower and the Carnegie Science Center's weather dome -- will turn blue in late November.

The Allegheny Network facilities also will offer free diabetes risk assessments and health consultations outside cafeterias at AGH, West Penn, Allegheny Valley, Forbes, Canonsburg and Jefferson Regional in Jefferson Hills from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday. Healthy "blue light specials" will be available for lunch that day and free copies of diabetes-friendly recipes will be offered to patrons.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that almost 26 million children and adults in the United States and more than 349 million people around the world have the disease.

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