Hope you all had a fun Halloween weekend. Somehow the conclusion of that sugar-fest seems a great segue into National Diabetes Awareness Month, no? And the countdown begins to World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, 2009.
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Let's start with the most fun campaign, the brainchild of Manny Hernandez of TuDiabetes, called the THE BIG BLUE TEST. Essentially the idea is to organize the biggest "test-in" in diabetes history! Please participate. It's easy. Here's how it works:
On Nov. 14, at 14:00 hours local time (2 pm wherever you are in the world), we're asking thousands of people with diabetes to test their blood sugar, do 14 minutes of exercise, test again and then share their results online.
To break it down for you, at 2pm on Nov. 14, please do this:
1. Test your blood sugar.
2. Run, jog, walk the dog or do anything you'd normally do as part of your exercise routine for 14 minutes.
4. Go online* and share your readings and what physical activity you did. If you have a camera, you can also add a photo of your reading(s) or you exercising.
5. If you have a Twitter account, you can also post your readings on Twitter (use the #bigbluetest hashtag) and link back to http://bigbluetest.org.
*Eight different US-based diabetes online communities will be participating: TuDiabetes, DiabeticConnect, DiabetesDaily, JuveNation, ChildrenwithDiabetes, Diabetic Rockstar, dLife, and MyDiabetesCentral.
The International Diabetes Federation team that runs the World Diabetes Day campaign out of Brussels reports that no less than 410 monument buildings around the world will be lit up in blue this year to help raise awareness for this illness. That's amazing!
Unfortunately only 39 of those are in the United States. And we have a very big country with very big diabetes problem, if I may remind you.
To get things going in the US, the team has kicked off a new 'WDD Champions' program this year, where myself, Manny, George, Scott, Gina, Kelly K and a bunch of other US-based D-bloggers can voice our enthusiasm, via the new WDD blog.
My post went up today, and it begins like this:
"When I first heard about World Diabetes Day a few years ago, I thought, 'Wow, finally a really high-profile event that will focus national attention on the ravages of diabetes!' But soon I realized that the WDD campaign is actually stronger and more vocal abroad than it is here at home in the US. I hope we can change that, because despite being one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful nations, America truly is facing a crisis with this disease, which the New York Times calls 'underrated, insidious and deadly.'"
Indeed, recent research from the ADA confirms that "to the majority of Americans, diabetes is not seen as a serious disease, or a cause worthy of supporting." Ugh! I guess there are plenty of people here who still didn't get the memo — although everywhere you turn, you bump into someone who loves someone (or at least knows someone) suffering with diabetes.
Over at the Diabetic Connect site, where I am Community Manager, we're making an effort to raise awareness by hosting the following this month:
- A Giving Program
We'll award a $250 Visa gift card to some person or organization in need on November 14th. Members will nominate the candidates, and the site organizers will select from submissions.
- A Home Page Spotlight Countdown
This will include links to more information about the many activities related to American Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day.
- A Go-Blue Photo Contest
Members can download and print a high-res JPEG of Blue Circle for diabetes awareness circle/DC logo. We're encouraging people to take photos of themselves holding a copy of the logo while participating in either a diabetes awareness activity (walk for the cure, etc.) or showing how diabetes impacts their lives (eating a healthy meal, testing blood sugar, trying to carry all their diabetes related "junk"). We'll invite them to load the photos into their profile (also possibly load into a Flickr account), and then award prizes to randomly drawn winners. Prizes will include free copies of our Know Your Numbers book, free A1C home testing kits, and free ID bracelets.
This is just a start, as WDD still needs a big boost of promotion here in the US. I think we should all make a pact to tell at least one uninformed friend about World Diabetes Day this month. And don't forget to mark your calendar for the Big Blue Test!