Its Diabetes Awareness Month, and theres no better time to make a difference.
By Kerri Sparling
June 2010 — November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and this is a time of year that I'm particularly thankful for the diabetes community, both on and offline. Diabetes is something that has been a part of my life for over 22 years, and for so much of that time, I felt like I was the only diabetic on the planet. I didn't have any other diabetic friends, and while I had the unending support of my loved ones, they couldn't completely understand what living with diabetes is really like. I felt alone, and isolated. I started my personal diabetes blog in 2005 in hopes of connecting with others, and over the past three years, I have found hope and community in the four corners of the world. Diabetes advocacy has helped create a new career path for me here at dLife, has introduced me to some of the most inspiring people in the diabetes community, and has confirmed for me that I am not alone, not even for a second.
That feeling of support and community makes dealing with diabetes easier. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to connect with other diabetics, and this month I'm doing my part to bring diabetes awareness and support to PWD. In addition to blogging daily for the month of November at Six Until Me, I am also doing my part to raise diabetes awareness offline. I have captained two JDRF walk teams for the past few years, one for the Fairfield County, CT chapter and another for my hometown in Rhode Island. Connecting with both the parents of diabetic children and the kids themselves inspires me endlessly and makes working for more diabetes awareness such a natural inclination.
As a kid with diabetes who has "grown up" (oh, that's so in quotation marks) and become an adult with diabetes, I'm proud to show the younger kids and parents of kids with diabetes that you can grow up strong, happy, and confident while living with this disease, and I find so much inspiration in their own young lives. Diabetes awareness and advocacy walks give me the opportunity to share a little bit of the diabetes community with my friends, my family, and my coworkers. Having all of their support means the world to me.
Working my "day job" as an editor here at dLife means there will be a steady and strong focus on diabetes awareness for the month of November, educating and inspiring beyond the diabetes community. Whether it's explaining the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes to coworkers, showing my insulin pump to an interested family member, or even confiding my deepest diabetes fears to my wonderful husband, diabetes education happens daily. Being honest, and being patient, makes every moment with diabetes an opportunity to educate.
If you're looking to get involved in raising diabetes awareness, your options are fortunately vast and almost limitless. Contact your local JDRF or ADA chapter and get involved with a diabetes walk or charity event. Ask your medical team about local support groups, and if there isn't one near you, start your own! And if you are living with diabetes, or love someone who is, think about starting your own diabetes blog, or joining different diabetes message boards and social networking communities. Connect with others, find hope and inspiration, and show the world that there is life after diagnosis.
Visit Kerri's website.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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