Extending Diabetes Awareness Month to Last all Year long
I spend a lot of time writing about diabetes and advocating for more diabetes awareness, but now that the big November awareness push of Diabetes Month is over, it seems like people just sort of forget about diabetes and move on to something else. Like on my Twitter account, I have my photo with the World Diabetes Day circle included as part of the image. Someone, unfamiliar with diabetes, asked "What's the blue circle all about?"
My response: "It's for diabetes awareness month, which ended in November but I'm still aware. I've had type 1 diabetes for 23 years."
Our exchange was brief, she was polite and asked a few questions, but then moved on. And I realized that's what most of society does regarding diabetes - they move on after diabetes awareness month. The people outside of the diabetes community - those who aren't taking care of someone with diabetes or those who aren't living with diabetes themselves - have a very limited scope on what "diabetes" is really like. Don't get me wrong - I really appreciate everyone who steps outside of their normal course of business to help raise awareness for diabetes, and I think that the level of awareness is raised globally though such efforts.
But today, I want to applaud my fellow diabetes community members for raising awareness during the other eleven months of the year. They might not be wearing the blue circle pins or contacting their local newspapers or holding informational seminars at their child's school, but instead, they are living with diabetes. Some are blogging about their lives with diabetes, spilling their souls to the internet and giving those who may not understand a glimpse into what "real life with diabetes" is like. Some are leading advocacy efforts by having diabetes meet-ups and coffee hours. Others are part of JDRF walk teams and raising funds for research as well as awareness for the disease as a whole.
But so many aren't in the public eye at all. The mothers that check their child's blood sugar in the dead of night. The college kid who takes his insulin injection quietly in class and then just goes about the rest of his day. The husband who brings his wife to the endocrinologist and then they go home. The simple actions of daily diabetes management, without thanks or fanfare or dedicated advocacy days.
We, as people with diabetes, are all-day advocates. Our lives with diabetes, and those we share our lives with, serve as living proof that this disease is tough to manage, but that our lives our worth every effort. Hats off to all the year-round diabetes advocates!!!
So even though it is now December, and the focus of the nation is off of diabetes, our mission remains the same as it always was: Live good lives, despite and with diabetes.