Just like the Diabetes Online Community, the staff at Diabetes Hands Foundation is a diverse set of people that bring a diverse set of perspectives to the work that we do. Today, on World Diabetes Day, we are reflecting on what awareness means to each of us.
Gene: I think back one year ago, prior to my joining this great organization, and to how little awareness of diabetes I had then. Now I think of the numbers daily… 30 million Americans have diabetes, 8 million of them are undiagnosed, and nearly 86 million Americans have prediabetes, and 75 million of them do not know it!
Andrea: As someone who does not have diabetes but as a human being living in the U.S. in 2016, diabetes awareness means learning more about this disease that is so often spoken and written about, particularly in the field of health and wellness, whether it is in the media, in proposed legislation on soda taxes, or school lunch conversations. Awareness means understanding what diabetes is, that there are two types and that living with diabetes is a daily thing–it’s a chronic disease. I hope that more people learn about the disease and understand how they can help those currently living with diabetes and help prevent T2 in people with pre-diabetes.
Allyson: Diabetes Awareness means to me personally as a parent of a T1 son, the importance of educating the world about the urgency of finding a cure for diabetes and giving a voice to all those affected by diabetes.
Mike: When I think of raising awareness of diabetes, I think of the actual people living with diabetes. Many of my friends carry around the burden of diabetes every single day with such grace that it’s possible that the disease is almost unnoticeable to others. Diabetes Advocates spend a lot of time throughout the year educating the public on how people with diabetes can do anything. During Diabetes Awareness Month, I like to see the focus shift very slightly onto the burden this condition can be. Yes, we can do anything…but we carry around this burden while we do it.
Mandy: To me, diabetes awareness is centered around awareness of the complexity of diabetes. It isn’t simple. Diabetes affects not only our endocrine system, but it can play a part in our relationships, our day-to-day decisions, our emotional stress level, how we experience the world, and our energy levels. Diabetes can affect multiple aspects of our internal systems, and likewise, multiple aspects of the world system can affect diabetes. I advocate that our best prevention and management will come from a whole-system approach addressing social, environmental, and emotional factors.
Cynthia: Diabetes is deceptively quiet yet exists so loudly in the lives of those who carry it. For me Diabetes Awareness is filling an empty, lonely, quiet space, replacing it with connection, support and a vivacious feeling of living well. I carried diabetes quietly for so many years, unaware of these places, these spaces, filled amazingly strong people who had so much diabetes to share: heart, voice, and support. In finding these connections over the past few years, my wish each night before the last blood sugar complete is that no mother or father, child, grandparent, friend or husband ever feels alone, lonely or lost in walking the diabetes journey each day.
When in doubt create an acrostic lol!
Mila: Diabetes awareness to me means to raise awareness about a health condition that has been stigmatized for a long time. Talking about diabetes in a negative way, only provokes misinformation and creates communication barriers. We all need to share the correct information and support others who are struggling with their diabetes.
Mariana: To me, diabetes awareness means recognizing all aspects related to diabetes (of all kinds) and helping others learn about these conditions. Awareness can be used to raise our voices in advocacy and providing information to those in need.
Grab this infographic and share it with your social networks and tell people what diabetes awareness means to YOU. (In English and Spanish)