The clock is counting down to the world's biggest month of diabetes awareness!
For those of us living every day of our lives with diabetes, it may seem a little odd that the topic suddenly comes alive each November, as if diabetes awareness weren't at the forefronts of our minds every other day and month of the year... But then again, we should probably revel in taking over November as "our prime time of the year" to educate the rest of the world about this illness.
National Diabetes Awareness Month is just two weeks away, and it's less than a month until Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day, which became an official UN-sanctioned observance day in 2007 with the passage of United Nations Resolution 61/225.
Lots of activities are planned all around the country and the world; we thought a good start would be giving you all a snapshot of what some of the "biggies" are planning. Plus, we'd love to hear about what your local diabetes advocates might have planned in your town...
This year's theme for American Diabetes Month is A Day in the Life of Diabetes. The ADA describes this tagline by saying: "Too many Americans think of diabetes as a minor hindrance rather than a life-changing disease. But you all know differently. And we want you and your audience to help us show what a day in the life of diabetes is really like."
The campaign already kicked off Oct. 1, with the ADA is calling on PWDs to share a personal image representing what a day with D means to them, whether it be of themselves, someone they care about, or an object, place, or scene... you get the idea. The images are being shared on the ADA's Facebook page to create a mosaic. Oh, and for every image uploaded, CVS/pharmacy has agreed to donate $1 to the ADA, up to $25,000. Then, to "shine a literal light on this disease," the ADA will curate the photos uploaded to the Facebook mosaic to create a larger-than-life outdoor display at an unspecified Washington D.C. landmark to coincide with WDD on Nov. 14.
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Big Blue Test!
As many in the D-Community know, the Big Blue Test encourages people to check their blood sugar, exercise for 14-20 minutes, check again and then share their experience online at www.BigBlueTest.org. This year's "test period" began yesterday -- Sunday, October 14th -- exactly one month before World Diabetes Day!
The goal for 2012 is 20,000 tests, double the amount of those participating during the first two years, and who reported an average blood sugar drop of about 20%! With every test, people with diabetes in need will receive life-saving supplies through grants sponsored by Roche Diabetes Care.
The specific charities receiving grants this year were announced on Oct. 9, listed below. The five U.S.-based initiatives are each eligible to receive $10,000 in funding, and $50,000 will be split between the two international projects.
In the U.S.:
- Auxanomen Health Clinic at Parker Lane United Methodist Church (Austin, TX): Auxanomen Health Clinic serves primarily people who are diabetic or pre-diabetic and do not have access to other health care. The Big Blue Test grant funding will be used to extend the hours of its one paid professional at the clinic, a registered nurse. Endocrinology and other services are donated by the providers and the front office is staffed by volunteers. By adding one more day to the nurse's schedule, the clinic will be able to add 400 more patient visits per year.
- American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad, Inc (AYUDA) (Pima County, AZ): The Big Blue Test grant will fund a small pilot program to sponsor diabetes outreach activities led by AYUDA volunteer James Stout, who is a young semi-pro cyclist living with type 1 diabetes. This pilot program will include education-based activities related to diabetes, nutrition, and the benefits of exercise. A pilot group of 25 tribal members who live with or are at risk for diabetes will be mentored and train over a 12-month period to then participate in the El Tour de Tucson organized bike riding event in 2013.
- DASH (Diabetes and Sports Health) Camps/LIFT-LevantatÃ© (Oakland, CA): DASH Camp is for youth (diabetic, pre-diabetic and not) to play sports in team environments taught by college and professional athletes who have diabetes. The goal of the camp is to empower youth with diabetes to be athletes and teach other youth about handling diabetes alongside athletics. The Big Blue Test grant will fund two free camps and a Community Health Fair organized by the DASH campers and staff.
- Insulin for Life USA (Gainesville, FL): Insulin for Life USA provides diabetes supplies, including insulin, to those in need in times of natural disasters when access to these life-saving products can be problematic. The grant funds will be utilized to support: developing a store of supplies ready for delivery to the site of a disaster on an as-needed basis, and providing for the physical infrastructure to deliver these much-needed supplies.
- University of Colorado - Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (Aurora, CO): This organization has developed a network of 11 pharmacy student-run diabetes management clinics across the state of Colorado. Almost 2,000 patients were served in these clinics last year alone. The Big Blue Test grant will pay for patient testing supplies at these sites, including on-site lipid panel tests and A1c readings.
The two international projects are:
- Fundación Aprendiendo a Vivir in Dominican Republic, and Fundación Diabetes Juvenil Ecuador in Ecuador, both projects organized through AYUDA to provide education and outreach to PWDs in those countries.
- Fondation Haitienne de Diabète et de Maladies Cardio-Vasculaires (FHADIMAC) in Haiti, through the World Diabetes Foundation, to research and provide management resources for people with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Sure, the DHF is behind the Big Blue Test! But there's much more happening with this grassroots organization. Don't forget about the Google Doodle for Banting effort that our community is behind. Despite some skepticism, we hope that Google signs on and agrees to come up with some fun doodle to commemorate Nov. 14, which is the birthday of insulin co-creator Dr. Frederick Banting.
More than 5,000 people have already signed an online petition to make this happen, so don't forget to do that if you haven't already!
JDRF - All for 1!
Yup, that's JDRF 's theme for the month: "All for 1!" They plan to kick off November with their second-annual T1Day, that launched last year on Nov. 1, 2011 (11-1-11) . The day is pitched as an occasion to "use our collective voice to reach as many people around the world as we can, to raise awareness about T1D and celebrate the lives of those who live with T1D and those who love them." They're encouraging folks to hold local fundraising events, JDRF will be posting a continual stream of updates via its Facebook page and Tweeting every one minute past the hour, every hour. Another push this year is for the diabetes community to act as advocates, to convince Congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) by the end of the year. There's a whole page with details online!
A few more plans in store: the national office of JDRF is creating public service announcements that can be submitted to local newspapers; some chapters are organizing groups to deck themselves in "JDRF blue" (diabetes blue!) and join the audiences of local television news shows.
The JDRF is also offering some suggestions about what we all can do, as far as local efforts:
- Wear your favorite blue outfit to school or work.
- Donate your Facebook status or profile photo to something D-related for a day.
- Gather your friends and organize a T1Day flash mob at a local park, shopping center, or even on a street corner.
- Ask a local restaurant to host a "Dine for Diabetes" day, when patrons can add a donation to their check.
- Write to your local government officials to ask them to officially proclaim World Diabetes Day!
Oh, and it looks like JDRF will be using the Twitter hashtag, #NDAM (National Diabetes Awareness Month).
Yes, World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14 is coming up fast, so none-too-soon to find out what's happening in your town! This year, the slogan is "Diabetes: protect our future."
"Following the United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in 2011, there is an urgent need to continue and strengthen the momentum generated by the event and widen the awareness of the factors responsible for the global diabetes and NCD epidemic and the solutions that are required to counter it. It is important to appeal to the hearts of concerned individuals and the general public to achieve these goals.
Particular focus will be placed on highlighting the importance of education - for health professionals, people with diabetes and people at risk — in reducing the impact of diabetes throughout the world. The campaign aims to EDUCATE, ENGAGE and EMPOWER youth and the general public on diabetes.
The 2012 campaign will have a special focus on children and young people as the driving force for the promotion and dissemination of education and prevention messages that we hope will inspire and engage local communities to recognize the importance of early awareness of the risks and dangers of diabetes. The aim is to build awareness among children and young people of the warning signs and risk factors for diabetes and that in many cases type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthy eating and physical activity.
Three key messages: Access to essential education for everyone; The way we live is putting our health at risk; and People with diabetes face stigma and discrimination."
In addition to that, IDF spokeswoman Sara Webber tells us that this year's Blue Monument Challenge will go full force, while the organization will push harder than ever for people and organizations to use the Blue Circle in awareness campaigns as much as possible, to raise more awareness that this is the universal color and symbol of diabetes.
Around the Diabetes Online Community
- Going Blue! In the past couple years, many D-bloggers have followed the lead of our friend and fellow advocate, Mike Durbin at My Diabetic Heart, in turning their blogs blue for the month!
- Blue Fridays: Diabetes Social Media (now under the umbrella of the Diabetes Community Advocates Foundation) is all about the Blue Fridays Initiative, encouraging everyone to wear blue attire every Friday to help raise awareness and just spark some conversation about diabetes. We'll be a part of that, including me with my blue circle purse, and Mike's Riley Dog wearing her newly-created "Blue for Diabetes Bandana"!
- This month's DSMA Blog Carnival is all about how we're preparing for Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day. So don't forget to check that out, and tune into all the participating blogs (hint: ours will be up at the usual time at month's end!
- WDD Twitter Chat: On Nov. 14, DSMA head Cherise Shockley is running a 15-hour Twitter chat (!) aimed at connecting PWDs across all borders. Activity begins at 6 a.m. Eastern. Each hour, a different blogger will moderate the global conversation, posing 4-5 questions on a specific D-topi. As with like the weekly #DSMA chat, the questions will be tweeted from the participating parties' twitter account using the hashtag #WDDChat12. Some initial participants include: DSMA, and the online communities in Australia, Canada, South Africa and the UK. The 'Mine will also be moderating between 10-11 a.m. EST that day! Watch for some YouTube videos featuring moderators who will be asking people to join a specific conversation on the hour!
- World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange: Fellow advocate and certified art therapist Lee Ann Thill created this initiative last year, and it became a DHF Seeds grant recipient earlier this year! So we'll no doubt see a plethora of postcards flying through the mail system and being showcased online. We can't wait to see all the creativity, and to be a part of this again.
- DiabeticConnect: Our sister site, DiabeticConnect, last year created an online campaign focused on raising awareness about the Blue Circle. We worked with them to help spread the word to expand the reach of the blue for diabetes, and some of those badges and icons can be found throughout the DOC. This year, we're working on a revised campaign that will build on our go-blue campaign! Stay tuned for more details.
- Eighth Annual Diabetes Blog Day: Fellow D-Advocate Gina Capone started this online initiative in November 2005. This year, she'll once again welcome a wave of diabetes blog posts on the 8th Annual D-Blog Day Nov. 9! This year's theme is media awareness: Choose a media outlet to write an open letter to, such as the NY Times, CNN, or a local/national newspaper or TV station about why it's so important for them to let the world know that diabetes is more than just being overweight or eating too much sugar. Let them know how important it is to report accurate stories about both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Let them know what kind of things you would like them to write about. If there are specific articles or reports they got wrong, let them know so we can get it right! We'll be using the hashtag #dblogday to keep tabs on Twitter, and you can check out Gina's roster of all the incoming D-blog Day posts on Diabetes TalkFest.
So, there's lots-o-advocacy on the docket for November. What do YOU have in mind? We'd love to hear about it.
Three, two, one... just two more weeks to go!