Chicago nonprofit offers free diabetes prevention program

Vision loss can happen in the blink of an eye, and one of the leading causes is diabetes.

But many Chicago residents don’t know they are at risk until it’s too late.

Like many of us, Chicago resident Suzan Durr fell out of her fitness routine during the pandemic.

"Believe it or not, you don't recognize when you're in the house that time waits for no one. And actually I didn't realize, it's been two years," said Durr.

When she went to the doctor for her annual physical, she says she was shocked.

"I was really surprised by my weight gain. I mean, I actually kind of cried when I saw it."

For the past 10 weeks, she’s logged online to meet with a virtual life coach. The free program is hosted by The Chicago Lighthouse.

"Diabetes-related eye complications is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and that's also important to us as well," said Lighthouse Vice President of Research Dr. Tricia Grant.

Durr currently has her sight, but is considered pre-diabetic, a risk factor for permanent vision loss. Each week she learns how a healthy diet, exercise and regular check-ups can literally turn back the clock.

"I started like really just making these little bitty small adjustments. More whole foods, more fruits and just listening to some of the other participants," said Durr.


The program is specifically focused on African American adults, who are 60% more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"We go into this program with the mindset, everybody wants to be healthy, everyone wants to live a long life, and we are just going to equip people with the tools that they need," said Dr. Grant.

"I feel like I'm investing in myself. I'm worth it," said Durr.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, you can log onto and search "Diabetes Prevention".

A new session is starting soon.