Why should the world stop and take notice of our kids with diabetes? Why should they accept any sort of education? Why should they care to learn anything more than “oh…the disease that Mary Tyler Moore has”? Why?
First, one must start out by asking, “What did we know, or want to know, before our child was diagnosed?” That is the biggest telling answer than anything else. What did you know before diabetes became the new normal.
If you realize that, it might help settle some of the frustration you feel when you come across people who do not ‘get it’; television, relatives, friends, schools, elected officials, and anyone else who has frustrated you so much that you want to scream from the mountain top about the diabetes in your life.
Did you listen before your child was diagnosed? Do you not think there were other parents out there feeling the same thing. The ADA, JDRF, Joslin, DRI, and many other organizations were educating the public with an army of volunteers……..did you listen BEFORE your child was diagnosed?
So tell me, what makes you think the desire for people outside our circle, as big or small as you may think it is, to accept any education should be different today than it was before any of us ever stood up and took notice?
Well because now it’s my child? Sorry, not good enough.
Public education is a very tough roadway. A campaign, an ice-bucket-type challenge, a spokesperson, and any other means of ‘getting the word out to the public’ have all been part of the diabetes circle for years. Other organizations and disease-state movements are so jealous of the efforts on capitol hill by the JDRF and ADA, they also wish they had centers of excellence like Joslin, or a building full of collaborative experts dedicated to curing their disease like the DRI. They WISH they had an incredible development ‘in the works’ for outstanding management like Ed Damiano’s Bionic Pancreas. They wish their on-line community had enough clout to vote a Miss America candidate into the top fifteen. They wish there were spokespeople like Mary Tyler Moore, Nicole Johnson, Ray Allen, Brett Michaels, and many more.
All the talk of the ice bucket challenge and all I kept thinking to myself; ‘does the world realize that this one-time thing is something every other disease state envies when they see a JDRF Walk, or and ADA bike ride?” Being a professional staff person for fundraising at the DRIF, I know I envy those incredible events. Ice water? In as much as the idea was cool )okay, pun intended), I marvel at some events that already take place within the diabetes world.
The NEXT BIG thing? What did Dorothy say in the Wizard of Oz?
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
My point? Constantly trying to make a better mouse trap in diabetes education is an enviable task. Education of others is always a good idea, and should always be ongoing. But remember that there are many things already in place to help in this battle of the ‘rabbit and the tortoise’ and they are always seeking volunteers to help. Starting from scratch is not always necessary the best road or the needed road. Ask Crystal Jackson at the ADA. Her and her colleagues lead the way in education our schools. Next time you want to begin again, know why a 504 plan already exists.
We have a lot at our disposal when it comes to ‘getting involved’. What we do within our circle is great to read about but the real test is in the world at large. I’m proud to be part of a community that is never afraid to try something new. To be bold. To be different. I am also proud of a community that does a lot each and every day. Organizations and Foundations are made up of the most incredible people who give their time for the better good of our kids.
Other organizations and disease-states envy that……….and so do I……even if we all think that it is never enough and the world needs to know more about diabetes. But also know what is already in our backyard doing incredible things is not something out of reach somewhere over the rainbow.
I am a diabetes dad.
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