Who knows about the A1C Champions, a nationwide diabetes mentoring program sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis?
All I knew until recently was that a group of volunteers from around the country — including the great Riva Greenberg — were being trained to give pep talks to groups of other patients. That's basically the program in a nutshell, but it's so much cooler than it sounds!
This program brings passionate advocates (currently about 75 people) from all walks of life together with the PWDs out there "in the trenches" who need a boost the most. The Champions give personalized and highly motivational talks about the importance of good BG control, approaches to effective self-management, and how to lead a more balanced life, among other things.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the A1C Champions' annual meeting in Las Vegas, to give them a pep talk about the DOC. (Thank you, Diane Spitz for organizing!)
What I encountered was buzzing group of spirited folks like Bob Kolenkow, a retired physics professor who simply beams when he talks about his "new life" as a diabetes advocate. (Hint: he was featured in the New York Times not long ago.) I so enjoyed meeting the energetic Kate Lilly! And also Ann Gann, featured here recently. They're doing everything they can to help others with diabetes in their home states, in the most immediate and personal way.
In short, this is a GREAT program, possibly the most under-hyped and under-appreciated diabetes mentoring program of all time, IMHO. If you're not involved yet, please think about volunteering. You get free training on public speaking skills, the chance to reach out to amazing PWDs in your area, and loads of personal satisfaction for "giving back." (I hear they're especially short on volunteers on the West Coast.)
If you are an A1C Champion and heard my talk, please leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing I promised for a free copy of Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes, the absolutely essential book to help PWDs gain an overview of how to manage their health (well, a really helpful book, anyway ;) )
So wonderful to meet you all!