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Join the Diabetes Community -- Online or Off
Has your diabetes ever made
you feel alone in life, like nobody understands you? Any chronic disease can be
isolating, and sometimes no matter how supportive your family, friends, and
healthcare providers are, you just want to commiserate with somebody else who
really understands how you feel. Well guess what: With 26 million people
in the United States living with diabetes, there are literally millions of
other people who know just how you feel! Often, connecting with other
people or families who live with diabetes can help you more easily bear the
emotional burden the disease can bring.
If you are looking to connect with people in your area, a good place to start is with the more traditional diabetes non-profit organizations -- these can help you get involved in events going on in your community where you can meet other people and families who live with diabetes. Two of the most prominent organizations, JDRF and the American Diabetes Association, lead yearly events such as charity walks and bike rides across the country, making it easy for you to get involved in your area while helping to raise funds for diabetes research and advocacy. Click around their websites for more information:
- JDRF (previously known as Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation but now aiming to reach people of all ages with diabetes): http://www.jdrf.org
- American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org
If you are tech savvy, the Diabetes Online Community (or DOC, as it is often called) has countless opportunities to connect with people across the world, share ideas, and get (and give!) emotional support. You can read blogs written by people living with diabetes, join chat rooms where you can share ideas and stories, and even meet some great new friends in the process! Here are a few places to start:
One tip: While the diabetes online community and support groups are amazing sources of encouragement, hope and ideas, it is still best to get advice for your specific diabetes management from your healthcare provider. Share what you learn with your care providers (we love to hear new ideas, too!), but always discuss any changes you’d like to make with him or her to make sure they are right for you.