Diabetes Awareness Month…..Is the Outside World Learning Anything?

Blue squareNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month and the 14th is designated as Word Diabetes Day.  It’s my understanding that the American Diabetes Association designated one and the International Diabetes Federation designated the other…..and it was so declared.

I think.

Now I love ‘branding’.  I love that I know what Nike means, what Polo means, and what the golden arches of McDonalds mean.  One brand means one thing.  As a diabetes community, have we missed the mark in this regard?  I mean what is the one message we want to get out in November.  In branding, you establish something that is instantly recognizable to the general public and you work hard (and sometimes billions of dollars) to ‘make that brand work’.

Remember the ice bucket challenge.  After that, everyone ran around searching for, and trying to be, ‘the next’ ice bucket challenge.  Never quite understood that because the major organizations ALL HAVE MARQUEE fundraising events that raise hundreds of millions dollars each and every year…..they already are ‘the next thing’.  A ‘next’ anything, for them, does not need to be created…….they have one already in walks and rides.  Build upon what you have.

Now I’m surely for the notion that everyone wants to ‘get involved’ and do their own thing.  But I also know that we, as a community, are constantly reflecting upon the fact that there are so many identity problems in the world of diabetes.  And during this month so many people are trying, and/or, doing their own thing that I ask, “Is the world at-large hearing or seeing one concise messaging?”  In the attempt for so many to ‘improve’ upon a blue color, or get a message out, or be the ‘cute’ new thing about diabetes that there is SO MUCH going on, the public is not hearing any message at all?

If you try to be everything to everyone, you usually end up nothing to anyone.  I have been thinking about this for a while and I have an idea.

The IDF conference, next month, is in Vancouver.  November, as diabetes month, is a full 30 days in length.  Why is there not a meeting among the tri-powerful JDRF, ADA, and the IDF; but every other organization is invited also.   In actuality, would it be wrong to have/create a diabetes council?  One representative of every organization and everyone meets at the IDF Conference and the ADA conference—twice a year.  And at this meeting, every organization is equal.

Actually this can be good for a lot of reasons but one focus could be……what is the single message needed to get out the following November?  The first half of the meeting a discussion is held and ideas are thrown about what the message would be for diabetes Awareness Month.  The list is whittled down to a few single messages, and a vote is taken and the one single message is decided.  After November, everyone can go back to doing their own thing but for one month, one message.

And that’s it.

Because the resources of the JDRF, ADA, and IDF are bigger than, well probably everyone else, they accept the challenge (on a rotation basis) to come up with that year’s creative (the design) but there are also some pretty creative people in our community and perhaps they can be asked to be part of the design team because after all, it will belong to all of us in the community.  The  message is generic, but here is the thing, there is a space for ALL ORGANIZATIONS to brand it themselves.  No matter how big or how small the organization, you can add your logo, your website, and/or your phone number to the art design with the generic message.

Now for thirty days straight, the message is the same.  The exact same. Unified. Everyone has been part of the process.  But the world-at-large is now seeing the ONE MESSAGE about diabetes that has been agreed upon by the entire diabetes community for that year.

Why try it?

Well, we all have been doing our own thing for so long, and I’m unsure what impact there really has been over the years for THE OUTSIDE WORLD to understand this disease; perhaps trying something else and working toward a unified message……well maybe that time has come……what do you think?

I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Every One of these Magical Dancers has T1D…….and that Was Not The Only Magic. WOW!!!!!!!

Dancing girlsEveryone of these young ladies, dancing their hearts out, have type 1 diabetes.  Dancing for Diabetes has that kind of magic that made this entire evening one of the most memorable of all my World Diabetes Days in all my 22 years on this journey……understanding the nature of it, it was a hugely memorable evening all around.  The unsung heroes are both the behind- the-scenes people who orchestrated the night; and all those who arranged the choreography–brilliantly executed and thoroughly entertaining all.

To say this was ‘just’ an evening of dance would be like saying the Super Bowl is just another football game.  From hip-hop, to modern dance, to ballet to even a trip to Starbucks to see a hugely original dance to Kristen Chenoweth’s Taylor the Latte Boy; yes, this night had it all.  Even an incredible diabetes education segment at the top of Act II…..absolutely flawless.

Dancing for DIabetes LogoFifteen years ago a young tween-ager (at the time), but no less determined,  began Dancing for Diabetes in her driveway in her Florida home.  It was the brainchild of a talented dancer, Elizabeth Stein, who was diagnosed shortly before with T1D.

Not to let diabetes stop her in any way, IN ANY WAY, she began Dancing for Diabetes to help others know that they can do anything while managing their diabetes.  Indeed.  When you see the graceful Elizabeth on home-made videos, you realize just how magnificent and dedicated she was to her craft.  When you see her at work  in a Florida Law office, you see an educated and focused office manager. When you see her speak of Dancing with Diabetes, you see a business woman with a fierce dedication to make this project work outside the boarders of her Florida State.

Dancing girls endBut it is the softness, in this same woman’s eyes, when she speaks of the young dancers who are featured in the second act, all having diabetes.  ‘I remember what it was like to dance and manage this disease.  I know what they are going through.”   And she does.  When she is on one knee speaking to one of her dancers, she walks them through as they manage their diabetes.  An outsider (me), cannot help but ask which is bigger, her knowledge of making Dancing for Diabetes the sharpest, tightest, and most professional evening of dance ever created; or her heart that cares so much for her dancers (and there were hundreds of them) especial those who dance with insulin pumps and CGMs on their waists and attached to their arms.

Awe. Inspiring. Impressed.  And quite frankly a few tears as I remember another little girl who loved dancing a lifetime ago.  On this World Diabetes Day, I was taken back to a little girl who with her diabetes, wanted to dance as well….and dance she did.  Diabetes did not stop her then, and at twenty-five it has not stopped her yet.

In my seat of hundreds of people, I was alone; as tears filled my eyes watching this evening unfold.  This one incredible evening unfold.

Dancing for Diabetes is a nonprofit organization and the Diabetes Research Institute will receive the proceeds from this year’s event.  Elizabeth has an army of friends and family who help her and this is one professionally run evening right down with signs on where to park outside the building.   As I spoke to the sponsors and special guests at the reception following, I said that Dancing with Diabetes should be, no NEEDS to be, in every State of our great country—-and beyond.   Turns out that is Elizabeth’s exact plan.

So if you have a love for dance, or your child does, and you want to learn more about Dancing for Diabetes; send me an email at tkarlya@drif.org (write Dancing in the subject line) and I will have Elizabeth get back to you.  It takes some work, but it is a fantastic evening and everyone should share in it.

Dancing for diabetes Elizabeth Head shotIt was a World Diabetes Day to remember and for Elizabeth, by evening’s end, it would be even more-so as her boy friend dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him.   She said yes.

Take THAT diabetes.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Diabetes Awareness Day I Created Something You Can Share to People Without Diabetes

Star. CupSo here is something you can share with those people who do not have diabetes.  A simple cup…….with a message. It just seemed to me that instead of it being a controversy, it could be used for a simple message…..a message that could save the life of someone you know and love.   It’s ‘interesting enough’ that local newspaper and media outlets may share it also….share it with them.  Share this with other sites, any sites.  Place this on all social media.  Anywhere where people who know nothing about diabetes may see it.

GDR Warning jpg

If you received this post….kindly click the flyer above and print it out.  Hang it somewhere where people will see it.  Sometimes, at the onset, type 1 diabetes can seem like a flu/or virus; but it’s not.  If someone you know has the signs above, ask your doctor to test for type 1 diabetes immediately.

So if today is about getting a message out……this just may be a way to capture those who know nothing about diabetes, the message is surely there.

Have a GREAT November 14th.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Tomorrow is November 14th; Nothing Tops the Reason We Started…….and Nothing Ever Will.

Kaitlyn FlowerI’m all in favor of everything that will happen tomorrow, and for that matter, all this month regarding diabetes.  Happy Birthday tomorrow, Dr. Banting and thank you for creating insulin; it–more than anything else ever discovered, created, invented, researched, and/or implemented is still the single-best finding EVER in the world of diabetes…..and everything else pales in comparison.

But we surely are glad that everything else that has come along and will continue to come along on this journey……aren’t we?

I always find myself thinking many things during this month.  My thoughts come down to one thing each and every year during this month.  Why I got involved in the first place.  And that reason is still a little girl who asked me, in crib/bed at the hospital in 1992 when she said, ‘Daddy, fix.”

No matter what has happened in this journey, it all comes down to her.  And in 2009 her brother was added to that drive.  Two of my three kids having diabetes.  It’s still my single focus and all that matters to me at the end of the day.  It’s why I try not to get caught up in ‘stuff’ that does not interest me.  What interests me is helping others and seeing that one day this disease is cured.  For Kaitlyn.  For Rob.   For others.

Cured.

Nothing short of that is acceptable in my eyes.  Many things that come along are appreciated but I’m always reminded of the headline when insulin was discovered which stated that it had been cured……..hmmmmmm?…..greatly helped……but not cured.

I have a definition of cured in my mind, and you have what that means to you as well.  We may differ how we will get there.  We may differ on who, or what, will lead the way.  We may differ on what ‘word’ we want to get out to the masses.  We may differ what symbol and/or color should be used to represent us all.  We may differ on who has written what, and how we sometimes want to hug the person, and sometimes we may even want to punch them in the nose.  We may differ on organizations.  We may differ on the emphasis of what is important.

I have said it a million times, just ‘Don’t do Nothing’.  And yet, over the years people have informed me that all they choose to do is take care of what they need to and I have learned we may differ in that thought too.

But at the end of the day;  when we crawl into bed, sign that last letter, post that last comment, give that last dollar, undo that last black-tie, tie that last sneaker, pedal that last bike we need to stop and we should look upon the face that started it all for us.  No we do not need a reminder how we got involved, we will always remember the reason.  But as the thirteenth of November turns into the fourteenth of November, look upon the face of the one who got you here.  Either as they sleep, or by looking at a picture.

And say to yourself yet again: Nothing matters as much.

For me, nothing ever did matter more……and nothing ever will.  Keep that thought and realize just how wonderful you are…….and multiply that by a hundred to realize just how wonderful and special your kids are as well.  And how much their siblings and other relatives and friends have been there to help.

And remember this……..no matter WHAT has happened to you in this journey, that face still stands as the single most reason to continue what ever it is that you do. That is Diabetes Awareness Day to me; always has been….always will be….and it happens every day.   You?

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

The White House in Blue……Want to Help Make it Happen?

White house blueAccording to biblical stories Thomas was the doubting apostle.  This has truly followed me my entire life.  Many times it serves me well, many time it gets me thinking.  But when/if/should my mind ever get changed on something, and I believe in it—-it consumes me.  

Such was the case last night and I blame Manny Hernandez and the small think-tank group for me not sleeping last night due to an idea that was shared at a dinner with a bunch of DOC writers and activists sponsored by Johnson and Johnson.

“Let’s light up the White House in Blue this November 14th for World Diabetes Day.  Let’s make it a mission to get that done,”  

DOUBTING THOMAS: To what end?  What would it prove?

As I spoke to people, one person said It would never happen anyway, the White House would never go for it………….and that got me thinking.  

That is OUR White House.

And now I not only think it is a great and fabulous idea…….I am asking your help and feedback.   There will be a committee formed to formulate a plan so do not do anything just yet,  we will keep you informed.  

BUT IMAGINE.  The White House lit up in Blue for International DIabetes Day  this November 14th.  But we have some work to do.

According to the IDF website:
The 2013 campaign will look to inspire and engage local communities to promote and disseminate simple education and prevention messages and organise activities to strengthen recognition among the public that diabetes is a global health threat with serious and far-reaching consequences that affect us all. From the local to the global level, the campaign will also reinforce the importance that a multitude of small and simple actions can make to achieving meaningful outcomes for people with diabetes and those at risk.

NOTICE THIS PART: …….”will also reinforce the importance that a multitude of small and simple actions can make to achieving meaningful outcomes for people with diabetes……”

Well that’s us.  Imagine if we could also hang the hundreds of Children With Diabetes Quilts on Pennsylvania Avenue with a group of people standing with the President as he flips the switch to Blue lighting the White House for just one night designating and reinforcing everything stated above.

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”
That sky will start over the White House.  WITH YOUR HELP. 

We are going to need to rally people, LOTS OF PEOPLE, to make this happen.   If you think this is a cool idea…….share this post but more importantly; give comment that you are ready and willing to make a call or write a letter to make it happen.  We want to do this in manner that can be very powerful.  I have always touted to just “Don’t do Nothing”—as individuals this will be easy to spread the word……as a group…..well we all scream for better awareness……..Are YOU IN?

Doubting Thomas, no more.

Please add your reply to here so ALL can read as oppose to posting just on the FB page where you read this….we need to know what you think….so please reply and also share.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Why is November 14th Such……or Some Things You Might Not Know About Sir Frederick.

Happy Birthday Fred.  Yes it is November 14th, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, one of the major forces in the discovery of insulin.

Thank you Fred for saving our children’s lives.  Were it not for you, we would REALLY have a problem. 
Here are some items you may not know about Sir Frederick Banting that you may find interesting. 

He received the Nobel Prize in 1923 and was the youngest to ever receive the award in physiology/medicine.

He received the award in his 33rd year of life where he dedicated his life’s work to perfecting insulin to be distributed to the masses.  (Thank you for that too Fred!)

He was married twice and had one child.

He loved to paint.

He was knighted in 1934.

He died in his 50th year on February 21, 1941, as a result of injuries received in a plane crash while in route to test aviation equipment.  He worked with the Royal Canadian Air Force in testing equipment that would help pilots at high altitudes.

He was nominated as one of the top 10 Canadians who ever lived by a poll run by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.

So I thought on this day, Diabetes Awareness Day that I would give you a little inside information on the man who saved the lives of our kids and all those who have diabetes. Thank you very much Dr. Banting for all you have done.  You have saved millions of lives…….including my two children.

The picture above is well-known to Canadians and sits in Sir Frederick Banting Square in Ontario, Canada.  It is the Flame of Hope, which was lit as a tribute to not only Frederick Banting but to all those who lost their lives to diabetes.    It would seem that those who worked to preserve his name also knew that in as much as insulin is probably one of the greatest life saving medical advances ever discovered, it is still not a cure. 

The wording on the plaque includes these words: “…..This flame will burn continuously and only be extinguished when it can be declared that a cure for diabetes has been found…..”

Amen!   Thanks Dr. Banting.

I am a diabetesdad. 

P.S.  Hear a message from Dr. Camillo Ricordi of the DRI for this special day.  Click here.

 

Information from Flame of Hope Committee, Wikipedia, Nobel Prize Foundation, Biography.com

 

Tomorrow is…………Yeah, so What?

Tomorrow is Diabetes Awareness Day; November 14th, the birthday of Frederick Banting one of the few credited with the discovery of insulin.  At the time, the headlines stated insulin was a cure.  It wasn’t; still isn’t.   But when one has nothing, it surely was a great step in saving lives; still does. 

November 14th, tomorrow, is by no means a holiday to me.  When I was a child and Mother’s Day rolled around I would say to my mom, “When is Child’s Day?”   You all know the answer to question as I am sure every mom has the same answer; (all together now) “Every day is Child’s Day.” 

That is somewhat how I feel about diabetes.  I do not need a specific day to be reminded about diabetes.  I do not need to see ‘something special’ done on the fourteenth of November each year.  We, as a community need to continue rowing together demanding the best from the companies and the organizations we support.   We need to continue to work together to make sure ‘the media’ gets right and we see diabetes painted in the light according to the specific types and what that represents. 

Because when it comes right down to it, in my life, November the fourteenth is the same as every other day.  It will remain like every other day until there is a cure; 100% every day.  How about you? 

What have you done today to try to make a difference in the world of diabetes; or in the life of your child with diabetes above and beyond daily management?  I might be for starting something on this date if never done before, but when it comes time for ‘doing something’ we better be doing that every day of the year or we will never move the needle (pun intended) when it comes to diabetes care and a cure. 

I know, that management in itself is much to ask isn’t it?   But we all need to “not do nothing”—-if our child deals with diabetes 24/7/365—-why are we not doing more?  It will not go away until we all work diligently to that end.  Cure, better management tools, and getting involved–never be satisfied with where you are at.  EVER.  In it to end it…..need help to get involved, just ask me–I have plenty of ideas.  

Each soldier has to take care of their own well-being, but when together they become an ever forward moving army ready to do battle.  Nothing less can be expected by anyone else who ‘has skin in the game’. 

Let’s work to making November 14th about a week before Thanksgiving and nothing more. 

The diabetes battle is every day.   Get involved today. 

I’m a diabetesdad.