On 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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