What a great place to work.
Diabetes Hands Foundation exists to make sure that people living with diabetes never feel alone. When you think of the numbers of people impacted by diabetes, the uncertainties and challenges of living with this condition, and the multitude of complexities around diabetes, this is big and truly meaningful work. I am fortunate to be a part of it and sometimes am a bit overwhelmed by it.
I have never questioned the value of our presence and especially our two online communities; it is apparent as you scan the content or read the words of those members who actively participate in the forum discussions that exist in both. Today, there are over 140,000 registered members in TuDiabetes.org (for English speakers) and EstuDiabetes.org (Spanish), and they are the foundation of our reason for being, or mission.
Every day thousands of people visit these two sites in search of information and/or support. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That adds up to millions of visitors (last year over 5.1 million from around the world) looking to connect in ways that enable them to take better care of themselves or their loved ones, and live a more healthy and happier life.
I hear the impact of our work almost every day, regardless of where I might be. It was evident during my time spent at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators held in San Diego recently. What did surprise me was the number of people who stopped by our display and said that they had never heard of us, and remember, these are professional caregivers, who are involved in the work of helping people touched by diabetes. As I described the activities and purpose of Diabetes Hands Foundation, they immediately became excited and engaged in the conversation with questions like: “You mean that anytime of the day or night, weekends included, I could send my patients your way and they might find answers to their questions or somebody to share their frustrations with?” And, “Did you say you provide this service in Spanish, as well as English?”
My answer was a resounding, “Yes… that is why we exist…bringing together people touched by diabetes for positive change.”
However, it is always the opposite comments that have the biggest impact on me. They sound very similar and go like this… “Diabetes Hands Foundation… you guys saved my life!” The story that follows echos the very reason our founder launched this organization. It revolves around people searching for answers that they did not get from their health care provider, and/or most of all–that comforting support that can only come from others who have lived the same experience.
They are powerful stories and serve as testimony to our reason for being. They make me thankful for our members who have found us and are always there to provide support for others. They give new meaning to the word community and really do save lives. I am proud to be able to witness their love.