Nick Jonas Spreads Diabetes Awareness
Nick Jonas is one of the most popular celebrities with type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately, I have yet to attend a Jonas Brothers concert; however, some of my patients have had the pleasure and can't stop talking about the new hit song A Little Bit Longer. In every clinic, my teens discuss Nick and how much he means to them. I even had one mother tell me that she wants him to marry her daughter (assuming that Nick's mother would be so appreciative of her excellent diabetes self-care skills)! I don't think Nick is aware of the enormous impact of this song and how it affects those who have or support those with diabetes. With his fame and talent, Nick, along with his brothers, has become one of the most prominent advocates for type 1 diabetes care and research.
Nick's fame and talent enable him to reach people that would otherwise not understand diabetes. You, too, can have the same power to educate, empower, and mobilize others about diabetes and the need to develop improved treatment and ultimately the cure. Advocacy is an important avenue to promote diabetes awareness. Increased awareness will, in turn, lead to better understanding of diabetes in schools, the workplace, and perhaps the government (allowing for more research funding, etc.).
How can you make a difference? How can you serve as an advocate for yourself, and by so doing, serve the diabetes community at large? First of all, you need to learn as much as possible about diabetes: the biology, current treatment (so you can make choices), and research. In this way, you will be able to educate those around you and eradicate myths that seem never disappear. Starting at a local level, you can teach your friends, community, and school about how they can help you care for yourself and provide the best resources available to optimize your quality of life.
It also is useful for you to be aware of the major organizations that advocate specifically for type 1 diabetes and diabetes in general. The three largest organizations include The American Diabetes Association (represents all forms of Diabetes), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (represents type 1 diabetes), and Children with Diabetes. There are other organizations that assist in diabetes advocacy as well; however, these three have major funding ($$) and impact throughout the United States. Funding is extremely important to assist scientists to find new treatments and potential cures. These organizations lobby the governmental agencies to influence Congress to pass bills that support diabetes research. Other organizations such as medical centers (like Children's National) promote advocacy and philanthropy to build state-of-the-art clinical care facilities to better care for you....until the cure.
You can make a difference by participating with The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or American Diabetes Association (ADA) walks or by attending rallies in Washington, DC, or other cities. By promoting awareness in your own community, you will be advocating for yourself and others with diabetes. Membership in the ADA provides a great source of information. In addition, tools from the ADA may assist your family in partnering with schools by providing sample 504 plans and information relevant for support during examinations, blood glucose monitoring in the classroom, etc. It is only through advocacy that your rights as an individual with diabetes will not be violated.
Participation in web sites such as www.healthcentral.com: Diabetes and Teens is another form of advocacy. This forum allows you to discuss your ideas safely, voice your concerns and fears, and provide strategies for others in a similar situation. You advocate for yourself and others when you participate, giving teens with diabetes a louder, more powerful voice.
Involvement in a cause (particularly one that is so vital to you) promotes personal satisfaction and a sense of belonging. Working together towards improved treatment, technology, and a future cure unites you, your family, and healthcare team in ways that are impossible when one goes it alone.
GET INVOLVED and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!