Fit 5 on Friday: 5 Ways to Support Project Blue November

October 31, 2014By 1 Comment

339ea9_6a772a8741284e94ba61b0b6b9b87ad8_jpg_srz_435_269_75_22_0_50_1_20_0November is Diabetes Awareness Month, for anyone with ANY type of diabetes.  Project Blue November came about from some D-Moms  (mothers of young ones with T1D) who specifically wanted to bring awareness and attention to advocacy for T1D.  This is so awesome for so many reasons.  It’s this crazy tug of war that T1D’s are always in with the rest of the diabetes community.  Even though so many people try to bring awareness to the disease of diabetes as a whole, there is often much more attention given to Type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment (which it deserves in its own right ), especially in the media, and less and less given to T1D.  This is just a fact.  Those of us with T1D and those with Type 2 don’t necessarily do it on purpose, it’s just that we want what we want, and that’s a cure.  However, because there are millions more Americans with Type 2 there are just more resources and funds for that type of diabetes (which can often overlap with the needs of T1D’s as well or not at all).   It’s just a fact.

Hence the need for continued grass-roots efforts from any and all of us living with T1D, child or adult, to bring attention to our side of the story.  Yes, anyone with diabetes has a messed up pancreas in one way or another, but at the end of the day we (T1D’s) literally cannot live without insulin from day one of diagnosis. (this can be the case for some Type 2’s as well).

Fortunately the issue of where ‘funds for a cure’ are allocated, depending on the organization in which you are donating too, have become less and less of a grey area.  Both the American Diabetes Association and the JDRF are very clear as to where their funds are being used.  For example, money may go directly to a cure (lab testing, research, clinical trials), or to technology (a pseudo-cure, i.e. the Bionic Pancreas), or if you’re talking more specifically for Type 2 diabetes, money may be allocated to development of new oral medications, research studies on diet and obesity, or to educational materials to help prevent Type 2.

While we are all in this to fight diabetes on a larger scale, globally and locally, those of us with T1D are almost fighting a sub-layer battle…sort of like the filling in between two layers of cake (ha ha).  I always talk about our daily ‘teachable moments’ where we can educate those around us on the distinct differences, and often times similarities, between Type 1’s and Type 2’s, yet with all of our efforts it sometimes feels like we are out on an island.

I spent over two hours at a JDRF meeting last week, as part of training to become a mentor to newly diagnosed as well as to take part as a member in an Outreach Committee meeting.  It’s definitely not easy, to take the time, to get in the car, sit in traffic, find child-care, and volunteer time.  Then all of a sudden, you find yourself in a room FULL of about 20 or so people who are as passionate if not more than you about our fight for advocacy, awareness and most of all a cure.  It is the most empowering thing I have done all month.  It’s invigorating, and although can be daunting when added to the list of things I promised to do for the committee on top of all of my other to-do’s, it’s something that always matters to me on a level that is more important to me then anything (aside from my little family).  Not everyone likes to talk about their diabetes, wear their pump on their sleeve along with their heart, or commiserate with another diabetic friend.  So for those of us that do want to do that, you have a voice, use it.

Thank you to ALL of those with T1D and those that love you who have helped raise money, awareness and have cheered you on through the years.  Here is a list of 5 things we can encourage others to do to help to bring awareness and advocacy to T1D specifically:

  1. Reach out to your local JDRF Chapter: If you have time, donate it! That is the best thing you can do.  Join a committee, offer to host a ‘Coffee’ support group at your home, or even stuff envelopes.  If you don’t have time to physically go to an office, a meeting or an event, try to get involved in JDRF through social media; Facebook, twitter, and online support groups.  Offer your support by offering to bring flyers for the events to your local school and Endo office. Sign up to become a JDRF advocate and help get important bills passed in Congress.
  2. Smash diabetes – Check out MyGlu.org and support the T1D Exchange efforts for awareness.
  3. Form a walk team for JDRF – It only comes once a year usually in the fall, so you have an ENTIRE year to start forming your team and fundraising efforts!
  4. Help someone with T1D by just listening – if you are reading this and you are the support person of someone you love with T1D, help them by offering to watch their children so that they can volunteer or attend an important advocacy opportunity at the their local State House.  Or, help out yourself if you have time.  I met an Aunt of a T1D the other day at the JDRF meeting, and I told her that it was so awesome that she wanted to do something to help her nephew.  Not everyone has the time to do this, but if you do, consider it.
  5. Share important information – the amount of attention on social media to diabetes, and T1D in general is growing at an astounding rate.  My head spins when I look at Facebook and twitter at the multitude of blogs, articles, videos and news headlines surrounding diabetes.  I keep a notebook of articles and blogs I need to read and then write about here on my blog, but here just isn’t enough time in the day!  If you can keep yourself updated by subscribing to just a few news feeds or even by posting articles you may come across through random google browsing…it helps all of us stay up to date with the latest news surrounding diabetes.

One last suggestion… I double dare you to wear blue Monday-Friday for the month of November and every time someone at work or at the coffee shop you go to every morning asks you why you’ve had blue on everyday… it’s a teachable moment! Share, engage, and win another advocate (can you tell it’s election season?)

Disclaimer: I want to recognize and clarify that there are many similarities and differences between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, and all the types in between.  I often blog with the intent to help those living with both types of diabetes, but because I myself have battled T1D since I was a child, in this particular blog, I am speaking from that point of view.  Please know that whatever you do to support, donate, or partake in efforts to raise awareness and fight for a cure, at the end of the day, it will help all of us

 

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  1. Excellent blog post and great attitude! Rock your Blue this November and so will I!

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