On this Diabetes Day……16,000+ School Nurses Hear a Child’s Cry for Change…WOW!

SchoolsSitting across the table from Donna Mazyck, the Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses, one cannot help but feel her incredible passion for not only her members but the people her members serve. On this day, I am not only sitting across from Donna but also at the table is Sarah Butler, Director of Diabetes and Nursing Education; many of their colleagues are there as well.

The meeting came about after Sarah and I had a meeting at the AADE Conference over the summer.  These two powerhouses listened very intently as I explained the purpose behind “A Child’s Cry for Change”.  Where we need to do more to identify DKA, and to better educate about diabetes across the board.  T1 diabetes being diagnosed at death, needs to be changed. This meeting was the result of many other meetings and contacts discussing the initiatives needed to make a difference.  At this meeting, after listening for a good deal of time, Donna smiled at me, “We will do this, we need to do this.”  After months and months of utilizing every inch of my spare time knocking on doors, writing letters, sending mailings….a door opened. It’s very emotional to watch something go from nothing to something.

It was like when Kim May (a d-mom) and I created Get Diabetes Right and created the original posters listed on the FB page for people to send out and utilize wherever possible about diabetes education.  I have been very clear about the fact that although we created this together, it is Kim and her wonderful ad agency that keeps adding posters to the site and running it everyday; my involvement is very little and it is Kim and her team deserving the credit for what that site has become.  Another door opened when Kim and I connected.

I have chosen to write about this today, on World Diabetes Day, because I felt it important that YOU are made aware of some recent developments that have been done, and continue, to better the lives of all our children across the nation.

As I said goodbye to Donna and Sarah, they made it clear that this initiative would receive the push it needed….and WOW how it did.  Here are just some of the things they have been instrumental in creating:
>The NASN’s Weekly Digest has a newsletter and right at the top is a letter from their President.  The digest that went out yesterday had this included: “……. Also, in the midst of flu season, it is important for school nurses to be vigilant and promote awareness of warning signs of type 1 diabetes that may appear as flu-like symptoms. Thank you for the care you give all year long.
Carolyn Duff, MS, RN, NCSN, President of NASN
This newsletter is sent to over 30,000 people 16,000+ of them school nurses in all 50 states and American Schools abroad.  THAT’S HUGE!!!!

>In addition, they included downloads of material including the Get Diabetes Right poster about warning signs for diabetes.  They encouraged the nurses to download it and place it in their schools.

>They also included, in their resources, a suggested letter to send home with each child who is showing flu-like symptoms for the parents to be aware that it could be  initial signs of the onset of diabetes.

>They also created a pod cast for the nurses surrounding managing a hypoglycemic reaction during the school day.

This is World Diabetes Day………It’s a time to educate, anywhere possible, about diabetes.  There will be a lot of people, myself included, wearing “DIABETES BLUE” today.  But you need to know what people like Kim May and her colleagues do every day; you need to know what the National Association of School Nurses and their members are doing; to educate, to teach, to spread the word.

There are many other things on the plates of these wonderful people, BUT THEY CHOOSE to ‘Not do Nothing” for not only our kids and those with diabetes; but also for those who have yet to be diagnosed to make sure diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible.  They have heard that child’s cry for change.  If one other person becomes educated, if we spare just one family the horrors of a prolonged DKA…..all of this would be worth every minute of time.  To these people I highlighted today, I say THANK YOU for hearing, and more than that; THANK YOU for taking action. 

And isn’t that what World Diabetes Day is all about?

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


If Tomorrow is a One Shot Deal…….We’re Being Unfair to Our Kids!!!!!

Diabetes Blue CircleRecently I watched as one of my children entered the kitchen to handle their low.  As I noticed what was taken out of the refrigerator and the pantry, torn opened and consumed, I knew it was a low needing immediate attention.  When two of your kids have T1 and they are 24 and 19; trust me when I say that you have to become very good at watching from the sidelines.  Ready-to-go-nonetheless; but clearly from the sidelines.

“You okay?”

Anyone who has an older child dealing with diabetes, clearly knows that if they answer, you’re probably okay to let them continue ‘their way’.  As I went into the kitchen to clean up the counters and the floor I got to thinking.  Tomorrow is World Diabetes Day and there is something that should never be forgotten; what we do, we do for them.

It’s not just about wearing blue, blue-lit buildings, and doing something to recognize the day.  World Diabetes Day is not my “diabetes” Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, or anything else.  It is a day with a mission.  If everyone did what they could, there would be no ‘one’ day needed to recognize…..well……anything.

Do not misunderstand; I think it’s terrific that we have one ‘unified’ day to hopefully get the word out there for people to understand what diabetes is…..what T1 is…..what T2 is…..what organizations are out there.  But I have also discussed this with many people who have diabetes, and specifically with T1, and I get the feeling that many of those who live with diabetes 24/7/365 will tell you that they surely do not need a day of recognition of ‘ANY’thing.  From 11:59 pm tonight clicking to midnight when World Diabetes Day kicks in; and to 11:59 pm tomorrow night to Midnight when Saturday morning begins and World Diabetes Day kicks out…….the lives of those we love will not change one iota but for this………they will have diabetes another day.

My World Diabetes Day will be recognized when my kids no longer have this disease.  However we get there; but THAT WE GET there.  Until such time I pray for the many management tools needed to improve their lives and their lifestyles; we need these tools to become a reality.  Until such time that we no longer need to educate people.  Until such time that TV doesn’t thinks it is a joke to stuff cookies in the mouth of someone passed out from a hypoglycemic reaction (Seinfeld).  Until such time that the world doesn’t think all people with diabetes got there because of being overweight. Until such time that there is enough money given for research across the globe.  Until such time people “Don’t do Nothing” and Get Diabetes Right.

Many people’s World Diabetes Day is everyday…..not each November 14th.  Do wonderful things tomorrow to recognize the day and hopefully make the world take notice.  But be ready to work again on November 15th and beyond.

Diabetes is not once a year for those we love……and when it comes to our advocacy, our actions, and our efforts……neither should it be for us.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’