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August 28, 2016
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Charity Begins... Halfway Around the World?

A few days ago, I posted about how we end up being each others' emergency support systems in real life (and occasionally by posting links to resources such as iPump and the Partnership for Prescription Assistance online), and how this made us each to some degree our brothers' keepers.


I suppose many of us consider a number of the "usual" diabetes-related non-profits along the same lines. I support the American Diabetes Association because they speak to me and have programs tailored to many of the at-risk populations that surround me where I live, and their sponsorship of the annual Scientific Sessions at which researchers and healthcare providers exchange information on novel approaches to diabetes management, research towards a cure, and evidence of treatment effectiveness (or lack thereof). A number of our folk living with type 1 diabetes support the JDRF because of their historical support of cure-based research, and the Diabetes Research Institute for similar reasons. We support online communities such as the dLife Community and TuDiabetes because they help us deal with our syndrome on a daily basis and put us in touch with other patient experts.


It's when we start talking about providing food, water, support, and medications for people thousands of miles away that my understanding of charitable purpose breaks down. Why should I worry about the Chinese trying to breed against type 1 diabetes when some of my friends right here in the United States have had trouble getting the insulin they need (and for which they have prescriptions)? My respect for Phil Southerland aside, why should I worry about getting test strips to children in Rwanda when there are people in my own community who can't get enough test strips to get basic baseline treatment information, or who don't understand how to use the data they've collected?


I'm not saying that the folk in China or Rwanda are any less deserving of care or respect and I'm not saying that there isn't something noble in making other self-sufficient it's just that a dollar placed towards getting a community drinkable water forever seems like it will go a lot further than getting a child with diabetes test strips for half a day, and that helping my friends and neighbors fits more into the model of "charity begins at home". It seems to me that we need to see to the health and order of our own house (community, country, circle of friends and family) before we can look abroad. Obviously, others believe differently. What I'd like is some insight into that point of view.

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