I have been honored speaking this week at the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver. First comment; what am I doing here? I am constantly and completely in awe of this ‘diabetes journey’ and where it takes me. How a guy who needed speech therapy as a child ends up in front of people across this great world of ours lecturing on anything to do with diabetes is truly a humbling experience.
And, yet……here I am.
I wanted to write today to share with you something I have learned over the last few days. It just might be worth while for you to hear it. You know how we discuss all of the problems with T1 and T2; the differences, the one getting more attention than the other, the one that needs more passion, the one that needs more attention, the battle to get the word out there just exactly what is diabetes all about………………well guess what? The problem is universal. Across every continent on this GREAT earth of ours. The problems we have…….others have also.
Here’s one for you, did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated their annual World Health Day on April 7th, 2016 for Diabetes Awareness. Click here to read more.
Now I do not know their plans, I do not know whether they are correct in their messaging, and I’m unsure what exactly they have in mind but when I went to their web home page and had to scroll all the way to the bottom to find out what this was, my guess was that they may not be so quick to give this day the push needed. It is something that is just 5 months away. Were you aware of this information…….me either. But now you know.
What I found out was that there are problems with this diabetes thing world-wide. Some similar, and some not so similar. And many heartbreaking. But I also found out something else.
Now that this problem is becoming more and more identifiable, people are doing something. They have made the choice to Not Do Nothing. I spoke to the IDF Young Leaders this week. Put simply, they ARE AMAZING. Young people with T1 and T2 diabetes doing something in their own country to make a difference. I mean substantial things.
Getting diabetes supplies to people where needed, where kids die before they even get their much-needed insulin.
Awareness programs in their home countries.
Creating support groups.
Creating clinics in areas that are underserved.
This group is the Peace Corps of diabetes.
I spoke to many of them, one young man from Kuwait, uses his own money because finances are so hard to come across. Another spends countless hours trying to make a support group grow. Their energy and abilities are not only impressive, they are inspiring.
So today I wanted you to just know two things. One; our problems and concerns are not as unique as we may think. Two; in other parts of the world, they believe as we do–that to get something done, you have to ‘get in there’, roll up your sleeves, and get involved. And many people are doing just that.
And that’s inspiring.
Just wanted you to know.
I am a diabetes dad.
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