A Questions is Asked…..Diabetes Needs More? Do We? Your Thoughts Please.

we need moreOn FB yesterday I read the following question from a parent:

I am tired that everywhere I go there is a support this or support that except for our t1d children and families does anybody feel the same? In the world where we find products all turning pink or a telethon or paper Shamrocks being sold or even a hot air balloon paper cut-out being sold at registers; the question is a good one.  Do we need more?Being with the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF), I often marvel at the outreach capabilities of our colleagues at the ADA and JDRF.  I hear people say to us all the time, “who are you guys?”  “What’s the difference between you and the JDRF; or you and  ADA?”  “We love that you guys are totally focused on a cure and know you are known for collaborating but what is the relationship with the DRIF and other organizations?”  

And there are other diabetes organizations as well that all are constantly looking for assistance and I imagine asked the same questions as we, at the DRIF.  scholarships to those with diabetes, camps, foundations, diabetes centers, offering supplies, other research arenas……….if they all came together under one umbrella I assure you that the world would definitely know who that entity was, but there is not just one entity dealing with diabetes.

Nor should there be.In as much as I’m the first one who states that we all need to continue to strive and find ways to work together; but thinking for one second that all diabetes organizations should work as one is a naive thought at best.  Work together, when needed?….yes; work as one?…no. If you Google ‘diabetes non profit organizations’ you will see 3,130,000 ‘finds’.  That is a lot.Diabetes is a very complex disease with many different aspects; and so are there many areas of diabetes in the nonprofit arena needing support.  Volunteer and financial support of the many different aspects is very important.  People feel it’s important to support the partnering with private companies for better management tools (JDRF), people feel it is important to fund education in schools (ADA), and advocacy in legislative branches (ADA, JDRF), funding for scholarships (Diabetes Scholars Foundation) Funding for Camps (Diabetes Education Camping Association), research for a cure (Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, JDRF, and some by ADA), support of athlete initiatives (Chris Dudley Foundation,, Iron Andy Foundation and many more), not even to mention the many organizations that help people aboard (Diabetes Hands Foundation, International Diabetes Federation, Insulin for Life, and LIONS International  to name but a few) and even on the local level there are thousands more non profits helping locally with diabetes assistance.

All of these organizations (and there are many, many more) do great things helping the many aspects of ‘the diabetes world’.  However, there is not a one-singular-all-encompassing diabetes organization.  And it is probably for that reason that one item, like a shamrock does not represent all of the different diabetes interests.

Now it may also mean that same events occur on the same date around the country; it may mean two health fairs occur simultaneously, and you may sometimes feel ‘pulled’ to make decisions on where you spend your time, your energy, and your money.  But you have choices, and the choices are yours.  Go one year to this event, next year to another.  Don’t get frustrated with what is or is not happening or is on conflicting dates; make a choice and run with it.  You will always have another choice to help where YOU WANT to help, when you want to help.

Here is the trade-off.  In as much as there is not just one universal diabetes organization, you have many choices on where you spend your energy.  What is important to you?  I have stated many times to not get involved in one organization OR another; but rather get involved in one organization AND another (and maybe AND another).

So to the woman who asked the original question, and I thank her for asking, I answer this way: we have so many choices out there to help those with diabetes; if there are almost 26 million people with diabetes in this world; and if each person along with two loved ones impacted by diabetes did just one thing to help, over 78 million people would be doing something right now to help in the ‘diabetes movement’.  And further, if each of those people gave (or raised) just 100 dollars annually; it would be more than enough to accomplish every single goal out there.
SO my questions is not; how do we achieve one diabetes organization?; but how do we get more people to help because more do not help; than do.  And THAT IS something we can all do something about, and we can start right now by asking the person in the mirror.  Just ‘don’t do nothing’.

I am a diabetes dad. 

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9 replies on “A Questions is Asked…..Diabetes Needs More? Do We? Your Thoughts Please.”

Totally agree, there are far too many people who do nothing. I am sure they will be pleased when a cure is found but won’t it feel so much better if you can think that you helped in some small way to find it. I certainly won’t ,just do nothing’ we all know ‘diabetes just won’t do’ so I will continue to raise funds and awareness at every possible opportunity!

Ideally, I agree that one organization cannot achieve it all. There would be no focus to fix goals upon if one charity had to do all things. If there is a need regarding Type 1 diabetes that is not being met, a new charity can be created to meet it. Seems like it should be that way to me.

And people are always thinking and doing things to move the dial in a idrection of education, advocacy, philanthropy….as many minds there are ideas…..this is a good thing methinks.

Diabetes is 1 of the most expensive ailments. Think about what the insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Alcohol swabs are uncovered but would you buy these without diabetes, maybe. Needles for insulin injections some insurance companies cover the cost most don’t. Test strips for BGL testing and ketones. After a total is gained now multiply that number by a life time. Just food for thought.

Tom…could you expand a little more on what your driving point is about? Is it that insurance should be more involved or health/pharma companies should be involved? Interested to hear a little more. Thanks.

It is sad that people need more incentive rather than the generic saving of lives. The local supermarkets where I live raise funds for three main charities but for one of them they raise much more money for than the others.
They sell balloons, shamrocks and, lucky for us, sneakers. The shamrocks cover the walls like a field. I asked an employee why they are able to sell so many shamrocks and hardly any shoes. They answered that they are given incentives by the MDA for selling the shamrocks. Most sales in a store gets a party, in a region gets a trip. They apparently do not get incentives for selling sneakers. 🙁

I don’t think it’s about having 1 organization — we need them all.
We desperately need 1 unifying, recognizable symbol / image or banner to rally behind and ‘compete’ for society’s awareness. I was amazed in November (Diabetes Awareness Month) how many different images were used to ‘advertise’ — red ribbons, blue ribbons, silver ribbons with a blood droplet, the ADA triangle etc…
When people (all over the world) see a pink ribbon, for example, they immediately KNOW it represents breast cancer, the magnitude of the problem and the amount of people affected by it.
Diabetes needs something– 1 thing — that EVERYONE will instantly recognize!

So many agree Cindy and the closest we have come is the IDF’s Blue Circle…..I think it is important for everyone to recognize that. One may not agree….one symbol may even be ‘better’….but right now the Blue Circle has the best chance of unified recognition…..everyone should just keep pushing the point until fully recognized.

What a great idea to have one organization that covered it all. Of course, that would never happen. In our neck of the woods we have the JDRF branch and the NDA has the primary non-profits. We were involved with the JDRF for several years, including being on the board, walk chair, etc. Of course, we all want a cure and we did whatever we could to help with this goal. But then, we also realized that there is a huge need for emotional and mental support. We then got involved with the Nevada Diabetes Association. But alas, we shortly discovered the political ramifications and the competition aspect. It is really sad that we cannot all be on team diabetes. We tried to suggest that both organizations work together and that did not go to well. Anyway, we are involved with the NDA now working on camp programs, outreach and mentoring programs. Thank you for all your posts. I love to read them.

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