Is There a Great DIABETES Divide with Us and the World Around Us???

two mountainsDo you ever feel like there is a ‘great divide’ between those of us in the diabetes community and the rest of the world?   It’s not just a matter that there is much misunderstanding, there is this kind of ‘hill’, or maybe ‘mountain’, that we cannot seem to get over for the world to understand what it is like to be a parent of a child, much less a person, with diabetes.  To get the ‘outside’ world to understand what we go through seems to be just that——a GREAT DIVIDE.

So my question is, what are we doing about it?  To me, I would much rather reach five people a day who knew nothing about this disease than reach much more than that who already know.  I think it’s a practice that could serve all of us very well.

Everyone thinks there should be a huge grandiose movement to change the tide in diabetes.  Let’s do XYZ……really?  The day after XYZ is accomplished, we go right back to the way things were.  Now don’t get me wrong, seeing structures all around the world in blue is a wonderful thing,  But as my dear colleague, Lori, always states, “what is the follow-up.”  We know these structures are blue….does the world?  Do we do anything to let the local people know why something is blue?

Again, we think it’s wonderful when we see these structures blue in November; but if we do nothing to spread the word outside of our world, well our world is the only one who will know and outside of a warm fuzzy feeling inside, it really accomplishes little.

There is a woman I know.  She does not have tons of money; I have never seen her at a black tie event, she is not ‘out there’ in front of the diabetes world telling everyone what is happening in her life yet she spends a great deal of time going to school after school doing diabetes education.  No fund-raising component to what she does…..just education.  One child at a time.  No fanfare, no recognition by elected officials-just systematically, building-by-building, classroom-by-classroom, child-by-child.  Imagine if just a thousand of us did that yearly.

Her efforts are humbling.

We have all of these initiatives (walks, rides, galas, events), days (World Diabetes Day, Diabetes Awareness Day, Wear Blue on Friday Day), hundreds of the world’s best known structures lit up in blue; and millions of writings happening every day—-how much of these efforts REALLY WORK TOWARD educating the outside world?  All of these incredible happenings and I ask, how’s that all going for us?  How much has the world learned about diabetes?

That’s my point.

Not to be misunderstood, all of the grandiose ideas and huge events are wonderful and they help a great deal.  But are these events occurring; and we as a community are missing an opportunity?  What is the follow-up to the world-at-large?

The next time you want to do something and you think that whatever you are doing is ‘insignificant’–remember my friend; that if you find a way to educate a handful of people who know nothing about diabetes——that may have much more impact than talking to a hundred people who do.  Food for thought.

I am a diabetes dad.

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4 replies on “Is There a Great DIABETES Divide with Us and the World Around Us???”

I recently had a conversation with our local JDRF Associate Director. This is a woman who is in the thick of it every day. She went and followed a family of a 4 year old with T1D. She was with the family for 12 hours and sat through watching site changes and shots…etc etc. She reported that it completely changed her outlook on what families with kids go through, and she understands it on a different level now. If those who are in the thick of it really don’t “get it” until an experience like this I think it’s too much to ask for the general public to truly understand.

Don’t get me wrong- we need to educate and inform so we can fundraise, but to expect people to really “get it”. I think that’s too much. That’s just my opinion though.

I do think ‘get it’ is a relative term…..that said…..if you are “in-the-business” as it were…..I would think you would take steps to understand it to the best of your ability and not wait for chance to show you. Thanks for writing.

I agree there are many levels of “getting it”. Not everyone has the level of diabetic, parent/sibling of, or friend of. I consider it a total win when the parents of my daughter’s friends say things like “I know she can have this. I don’t remember what she has to look at so all the packages are on the counter.” She made a beautiful homemade cake so the counter looks like the baking and dairy aisle combine. *tears*
I don’t ever want anyone to be at parent level, but it’s great to know she understands my daughter can eat and do whatever, she just needs a little more information than other kids.
You’re right Diabetesdad, we need to gather the money, make things blue, and spread the information.

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