BRENTWOOD -- Residents will be treated to a new spin on an important annual event Saturday. This year's Brentwood Lions Club Diabetes Walk is literally going to the dogs and has been renamed "The Dog Days of Diabetes," giving participants the opportunity to increase awareness of diabetes, support patients, raise money and give homage to the dogs that played a role in pioneering the creation of insulin.

This will be the second year Annette Seabury has organized the charity event, in part as thanks to the Lions Club for all the support it gave her when her son was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago.

"This year, I wanted to include other people and give the event a name people outside Lions Club would understand, so I decided on the Dog Days of Diabetes, and it has really taken off," she said.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 26 million people in the United States with diabetes, but only 18 million are aware they have the disease. And while there is no cure, there are treatments, including insulin.

The role of dogs in the fight against diabetes goes back to the 1920s when Dr. Frederick Banting at the University of Toronto began experiments, first on dogs, that led to the production of synthetic insulin as a way of controlling the disease. Dr. Banting was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine in 1923 for his work.

Local Lions clubs have come together to raise awareness and offer financial and emotional support to families who face diabetes; Saturday's walk is being partnered by the Lions clubs of Brentwood, Byron-Delta and Discovery Bay.

Registration takes place the day of the event at 9 a.m. at Creekside Park, and one hour later, participants will run, walk or dance, accompanied by strollers, friends and dogs along Marsh Creek Trail on the three-mile course. Everyone is invited, whether they participate in the walk or just stroll around and cheer on participants.

With diabetes and dogs as the main focus, there will be plenty of non-walk activities to make the outing worthwhile.

Nurses will be on hand to monitor blood pressure and suggest exercises for good health; representatives from John Muir Health will donate glucose meters and test strips; literature will be available for a new screening device called Trialnet; and a massage therapist will work out any pre- or post-walk kinks.

"I've lined up three local dog organizations to promote their adoption programs, and they'll have dogs available for adoption at the walk. A mobile groomer will be there for nail clipping," Seabury said.

Local band Dawg Lips will entertain throughout the morning, Farmer's Daughter will provide free snacks, and Fresh and Easy has the water and trail mix necessities in hand.

The purpose of the event is to raise money, and to this end, Seabury has visited local businesses for donations and cash to create raffle baskets.

Community response has been more than generous, with more than $2,000 in donations and 40 raffle baskets collected two weeks before the event. Seabury has received items from Brentwood Spa, Trader Joe's, Napa Auto Parts, Brentwood's Fine Meats, and more.

"I go into stores to ask for donations, and people have been whipping out their checkbooks and handing over raffle items like you wouldn't believe,"

she said. "People just ask 'how can I help' "?

Seabury is hoping to top last year's total of $5,000, saying that $7,000 would be glorious.

All proceeds will go toward sponsoring local children living with diabetes at the Diabetes Youth Families Camp, where peer counseling is combined with camp activities for youths while parents get counseling and learn the latest information.

"These camps are fantastic; kids are off doing archery and swimming and handling their disease with other kids. It's not scary, and they can ask questions," Seabury said.

"Camp is the beginning of your life when you're diagnosed."

The message behind Saturday's walk is that diabetes is not a disease that only happens to adults, and early diagnosis is important.

"You don't have to show up and walk; you can show up, make a donation, just hang out and maybe adopt a dog," Seabury said. "Come out to support the community and learn more about diabetes."

if you go
WHAT: The Dog Days of Diabetes
WHEN: Saturday, Creekside Park, 1010 Claremont Drive, Brentwood. Registration at 9 a.m., $25 per person, $100 for a team of five. Raffle tickets $1 each.
DETAILS: To learn more about "The Dog Days of Diabetes" or register in advance, email Annette Seabury at netsnuthouse@yahoo.com or call 925-642-3799.