Hey, Diabetes Community!
We're only a couple of weeks from the start of National Diabetes Awareness Month and exactly one month from World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, and many are busy prepping for the time of year when diabetes awareness efforts hit their peak.
Of course, for those of us living with or caring for someone with diabetes, it's not like November brings any change in checking blood sugars or treating our health. But it's this month when diabetes gets the most visibility for those outside the "diabetes bubble" who might not pay as much attention otherwise.
As usual, there's a lot happening in November -- some returning advocacy initiatives, and many new activities happening for the first time in 2013. Here's a snapshot of what we've heard is in the planning stages:
Patient Community Initiatives
Now in its fifth year, the Big Blue Test campaign is just about open for business for 2013. This is of course a huge international online "glucose test-in" created back in 2009 by Manny Hernandez and his Diabetes Hands Foundation. It emphasizes the importance of exercise with diabetes -- specifically how just 14-20 minutes of exercise can lead to a 15% to 20% decrease in a PWD's average blood glucose level.
The BBT goes live tomorrow, and any tests done from opening day through World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14 go toward the goal of 20,000 entries, which when reached, will prompt the program sponsors to release $10,000 in donations to charitable D-organizations.
The groups getting grants are:
- Two US-based nonprofits will receive $2,500 each -- St. Anthony's Medical Clinic in San Francisco, CA, and the University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, CO.
- An additional $5,000 will go to American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad, Inc. (AYUDA) to support projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The BBT isn't featuring one big promotional video as has been done in years past, but D-peep Mike Lawson, who serves as head of experience for the DHF, says they'll be rolling out "various video components" as the campaign progresses during the next month.
This campaign is identical to last year's in the 20,000 entry goal, but the contributions have decreased from $100,000 due to sponsorship changes. Nevertheless, there's a great lineup of sponsors backing the initiative this year: Perrigo Diabetes Care, Genentech, The Safeway Foundation, and Level Up have all stepped up to support the program. Also, Tandem Diabetes Care is sponsoring an iPhone and Android app that will be available for free to make it easier for people submit their Big Blue Test results and share them on various social media channels. That's being finalized and should be available soon, Mike tells us.
There are also likely many other patient-led happenings coming together around the country for November and for the 14th in particular. We have our own DiabetesMine Innovation Summit planned for Nov. 15 and a D-Data workshop the day before, and I'm personally working to coordinate a D-Meetup where I live in Indy, which will include once again lighting our Soldiers & Sailors Monument up in blue as part of the IDF World Diabetes Day Monument Challenge. With Nov. 14 being a Thursday, we're also very excited about what may be on tap for the DSMA Live show that night!
Oh, and speaking of DSMA and all things BLUE... You know about Blue Fridays, right? It's the grassroots initiative created by fellow DOCer Cherise Shockley where folks are encouraged to wear blue every Friday to raise awareness for diabetes. Well, now there are Blue Friday buttons too! Cherise's group is doing some giveaways of the buttons, and you can also purchase them for a $5 donation per button; enter your request here.
And don't forget about the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange created by type 1 D-blogger Lee Ann Thill. Registration for this year's WDDPE is open now through Oct. 21, so make sure to sign up if you haven't yet had the chance. You just make a creative D-awareness postcard, and Lee Ann will pair you up with a pen pal somewhere in the world to exchange with. Neat!
What about creative diabetes initiatives not specific to WDD, you ask? Well, Lee Ann has an idea for that too! The D Card Project is like the idea of baseball cards or other collectors' cards that can be traded up between friends, and these can be created and exchanged any time, so check it out.
We expect more to come from the DOC for November, without a doubt, and we're excited to share it all as the news comes in.
National Advocacy Orgs
Sadly, the two biggest U.S. advocacy organizations, ADA and JDRF, have not really embraced World Diabetes Day itself, and don't appear to have anything specific planned. But for Awareness Month in general, they seem to have similar efforts in mind, both meant to illustrate what a "day in the life of diabetes" really looks like... hmmm.
American Diabetes Association
For November, the ADA plans to continue a campaign created last year asking people to submit a personal image to the ADA Facebook page to be added to an online mosaic that will represent what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means. To make the mosaic more impactful in 2013, they'll be changing up the "target imagery" several times throughout November. That means a variety of images will get front-page play. You can participate by sharing an image on diabetesmosaic.org.
The ADA will also be working with NASCAR driver Ryan Reed, a fellow type 1 we interviewed earlier this year, to showcase the mosaic in the NASCAR series. Ryan's race car will be wrapped with mosaic photos and will be featured in his Nov. 9 race in Phoenix, AZ.
While nothing has officially been announced yet, the JDRF tells us they plan to launch an initiative on Nov. 1 that will essentially be a "Day of Diabetes" social media campaign for the entire month. No other details are public yet, so like the rest of the D-Community we'll be watching to take part in that awareness campaign, whatever it is... which sounds very similar to the ADA's, but hey -- the more D-Awareness the better, right?
This comes just a few months after JDRF unveiled its new marketing campaign meant to unite all of its research efforts under the umbrella message "Turning Type 1 Into Type None." Kicked off during the summer just before its annual meeting in August, the new campaign involves a handful of online videos as well as other written materials in an effort to "unify the voice" of JDRF efforts. Marketing Director Peter Cleary says this is an evolution of the rebranding effort that began a few years ago when the organization struck "juvenile" from its name and pushed to include more of the adult T1 community. He says there's been some confusion in the past about everything the organization is working on, and there may have been mixed messages -- especially after the JDRF appeared on PR reality TV show The Pitch discussing their marketing priorities last summer. The idea is that JDRF is now "consolidating efforts" using this new messaging as it moves forward and into the year's biggest month of diabetes awareness, Cleary tells us.
International Diabetes Federation (IDF)
As always, we look to World Diabetes Day creators IDF for some "blue" guidance on what will be happening for Nov. 14. We reported earlier in the year about this year's theme, Take a Step for Diabetes. In conjunction with that slogan, it looks like there's a great lineup of local WDD events being planned across the U.S. and the globe, so make sure to check that out -- and add your own if you don't see one locally.
As the IDF asks: "What are you doing to take a step for diabetes in 2013?
Know of anything more being planned for November and World Diabetes Day? We'd love to hear about it, and possibly help spread the word!