How many times have we all seen the statements of how much more education is needed for the world to understand diabetes? The differences between T1 and T2 as well as so many other aspects dealing with this insidious disease are constantly being reflected in articles, posts, and in all media; and we are always asking for more.
As this week’s media took flight with the plight of mental illness and the so many unknowns, maybes, ifs, and might-have-beens; I could not help but think to myself that our feelings of misunderstandings may very well be universal. It may very well be that many, dare I say, all disease-states live and suffer with the understanding that no one understands what ‘we go through’. It doesn’t matter who the ‘we’ are; diabetes, cancer, mental illness, MS, and the list continues, I bet they also feel the world needs to be better educated. Why would they feel any other way?
A doctor on a cancer sight actually wrote this about Robin Williams this week: I am sure that he had poor medical / psychological advice.
Opinions. My goodness they are everywhere and I think it’s important to realize that everybody has an opinion, even when they are not involved in a situation. Even, as e all know from experience, when they have no clue on which they speak. That opinion can be across an entire spectrum of disease-states as well as those closely surrounding us in the diabetes world.
In the diabetes community it is often said that we are not alone. Others are going through what we are going through and we will be there for each other. When it comes to the public-at-large, it’s equally important to understand that many, many others; who have a cause very close to their own hearts—-are also fighting to be noticed in a space that seems very large but full as well…….and getting fuller.
My point in this is that we not only need to depend on ourselves for our self-support, but it will also be up to us to make our own way in the world; it will be up to us to also make our voices heard. When a JDRF or an ADA—or even an individual with a mission on diabetes awareness is asking our help; if our diabetes community-at-large does not circle the wagons and help an initiative—-at the end of the day—-we will have no one to blame but ourselves that more people do not know or understand OUR diabetes.
No we cannot do everything, everywhere…….but just don’t do nothing. This in ALL things diabetes–advocacy, fund-raising for research, support, and every aspect of diabetes. If we want to look at the numbers; (let’s just agree for now) that there are 1.5 million people with T1 diabetes and CDC’s new numbers put the total diabetes population at 29.1 million. If we take just 10% of that number with family members (x3) that would translate to 8.7 million people DOING SOMETHING regarding diabetes……and that’s how many there are doing something with diabetes…..right?
I don’t think that number would even be at 1% (870,000 people engaged). Now if you are reading this, already, you are more active than most, and I do believe the T1 population is more-engaged, but do you think that the same 1% of PWDs and their family (numbering 45,000) involved with T1 are actually involved in some way? How about 2% (90,000), 3% (135,000)? In any case, having just 1-3 percent involved (I’ll be generous) means that 97% is not. That needs us to take notice.
This information lends the thought process that perhaps we need to start thinking how to engage the millions and millions of PWDs and their family members a little more, before we start asking/expecting the outside world for a slice of their attention.
If our own population cannot get 1%-3% to engage, why would we think the world-at-large doesn’t also have enough to do than pay attention?
Now I know, in almost all things, the smaller number does the most amount of work so one of two things need to happen: 1. We get more people involved. 2. The people already engaged, do not let one opportunity get by without doing something, or fall back in say in saying-“let someone else do it”.
When all is said and done the translation is simple; if we don’t do it——–it isn’t happening.
Where are you in the mix?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.