November is nearly upon us, which means the biggest month in diabetes advocacy is about to begin! As most of you know, November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and don't forget to circle Nov. 14 in blue — that's World Diabetes Day.

World Diabetes Day was launched unofficially in the mid-1980s by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), and then was crystalized in 2007 when a UN Resolution was passed, acknowledging diabetes as a global epidemic and crisis. It is the only noncommunicable disease to be recognized with a UN Resolution, so Nov. 14 is a big deal!

The IDF is encouraging everyone to get involved at a local level, with lighting up monuments in blue and some really fun stuff, like organizing a flash mob in your city or town.

Bottom line: there are loads of opportunities for getting involved in this year's awareness campaigns around the country and around the world, so no matter where you are, there's something for you to do. Here are a few noteworthy campaigns:

WDD Monument Challenge

Every year, hundreds of monuments around the world are lit up in blue to spark diabetes awareness. Kudos to the IDF for getting this global glow campaign rolling! It is amazing to watch, and this year, there are over 900 monuments currently scheduled to go blue on Nov. 14.

Is there one near you? If so, make sure to take a picture and send it to the IDF so they can include it in their awe-inspiring Flickr gallery.

Get Behind the Blue Circle Campaign!

Our feeling here at the 'Mine — congealed by talks with other DOC leaders at the Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit this summer — is that a huge priority for diabetes awareness ought to be uniting the various advocacy organizations in this country behind a SINGLE, RECOGNIZABLE ICON.

That is, if we ever want to achieve anything close to the national attention breast cancer has managed, the diabetes patient population needs to stand up and make their voices heard that the various advocacy organizations in this country need to work together better — starting with the adoption of one recognizable icon.

So we're kicking off a campaign to help everyone who cares about diabetes advocacy easily speak out to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and ask them to please get behind the Blue Circle as THE international symbol of diabetes.

The campaign will be based at the community site, and will provide ready-made postcards that you can easily print out and send to these three major U.S. organizations representing diabetes patients.  There will also be an online petition to sign, and we're shooting for thousands of signatures.

We'll have more details next week, and also lovely badges to post so you can show your support (see above). Only with your help can we be united under the Blue Circle!

WDD Blue Fridays

Most awareness campaigns ask people to wear a particular color on a single day of the year (like red on Feb. 1 for Heart Awareness Day). But in November, you're encouraged to wear blue on all four Fridays of the month. WDD Blue Fridays was launched by founder of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy Cherise Shockley.  She writes:

"Blue Fridays is an initiative to bring attention to World Diabetes Day, and to advocate and bring awareness for diabetes and the people living with it. Diabetes is more than a national issue; it's a world epidemic. This year, I want to rally the diabetes community... by asking people to wear blue every Friday during the month of November and on World Diabetes Day (November 14). Please help spread the word."

Check out this very creative promo video for the Wear Blue campaign, with a lot of familiar DOC faces!

Big Blue Test

Returning for its 3rd year, the Big Blue Test was founded by Manny Hernandez and the team at the Diabetes Hands Foundation. It's a great big "global test-in" in which PWDs from all over the world are asked to share their BG numbers online.

But the team is switching things up this year: instead of having everyone participate at 2pm local time (14:00 hours) on Nov. 14, they're asking people to participate sometime between Nov. 1 and Nov. 14 by testing your blood sugar, exercising for 14 minutes, testing again, and then recording your BG result on the website, above.

For each person who participates in the Big Blue Test, Roche Diabetes Care will again donate to an international diabetes charity to help a person with diabetes who's in need. The official campaign video for this year's Big Blue Test goes live on Nov. 1, but check out this sneak peek trailer:

WDD Postcard Exchange

Another grassroots campaign comes from diabetes blogger and art therapist extraordinaire Lee Ann Thill, who is back with another art project to bring the diabetes community together. The WDD Postcard Exchange invites everyone — type 1s, type 2s, spouses, family and friends — to participate in a global postcard exchange. Seriously, who doesn't love to get something arriving at their doorstep via "snail mail"?!

The way it works is that folks send in their mailing address to Lee Ann, who is taking on the colossal task of pairing everyone up. Participants are asked to create a 3.5" x 5" postcard, use the blue circle somewhere in the picture you create, provide answers to a few questions, and then mail it off! As of last week, the WDD Postcard Exchange had 300+ participants from all the inhabited continents: North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and finally, South America.

Wow! Allison and I have both signed up to participate and we can't wait to see who we're matched with!

T1 Day

From the Big Guns: JDRF is doing something new this year. They're kicking off National Diabetes Awareness Month on Nov. 1 with the first-ever "type 1 diabetes awareness day" program, appropriately called T1 Day.

The day seems to be focused around media outreach — to educate the press about type 1 diabetes — and fundraising for JDRF itself. The list of activities includes:

  • Visible presence on a number of national media outlets announcing T1Day
  • A "major announcement from JDRF, which better emphasizes our focus on type 1 diabetes"
  • Encouraging people to set up their own T1Day fundraising campaign pages, to solicit donations in honor of T1Day
  • Urging more advocates to sign the petition to the FDA asking them to issue guidance for artificial pancreas technology advances to better treat and potentially cure type 1 diabetes (JDRF's been circulating this for a while, with great success!)
  • JDRF will be tweeting and updating Facebook at one minute past the hour throughout the day on Nov. 1 , "to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes"
  • And "much more, throughout the month of November..."

The big news being announced by JDRF will be its new branding, which CEO Jeffrey Brewer also hinted at this summer at the Diabetes Social Media Summit, that will reflect JDRF's newfound commitment not just to the cure, but also to technology that can help people live well with diabetes now (like the Artificial Pancreas). So we're excited to see how they'll present this new messaging.

Plus, the JDRF New York City Chapter is asking folks to come to the Today Show studio on Nov. 1 at 5 am wearing blue to raise awareness for diabetes. We actually thought this choice of date was a little peculiar. Wouldn't it be better to do this on Nov. 14 World Diabetes Day — than on Nov. 1 for T1 Day, which no one has ever heard of? Seems a little strange to announce a major branding change while also appearing on national TV for an awareness day that your organization just invented... while a major, established international awareness day for the same cause is happening just a few weeks later.  Won't they be stealing the thunder of WDD on Nov. 14?

Reps at JDRF say, "The whole month of November is dedicated to diabetes awareness, so why not kick off the 1st of the month with a day dedicated to type 1 diabetes?" We're certainly all for diabetes advocacy and awareness, we just thought this was an unusual choice for such a big media spotlight, given the struggle for recognition of WDD.  Anyway, if you're interested in being part of the Today Show crowd on Nov. 1 crowd, email JDRF to let them know you'll be there.

{Surprisingly, not much else seems to be planned for World Diabetes Day in NYC - if you know of something let us know}

San Francisco Flash Mob

Speaking of local events, though, San Francisco has finally gotten its act together for a World Diabetes Day spectacular, thanks to Close Concerns, the Diabetes Hands Foundation, and the JDRF Bay Area Chapter! The city's famous Union Square will be lit up in blue! The festivities will include include inspirational talks, celebrity guests, ice skating, refreshments, music, dancing, kids arts and crafts, a diabetes resource fair and...

the attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the THE LARGEST HULA HOOPING ACTIVITY EVER!

We need 114 people to set a new record for simultaneous hula hooping in the name of global awareness for diabetes (blue hoops!). If you are interested in joining us in Northern CA, please RSVP so we can get a head count. This event is free!

If you're looking for something in your own area, IDF is publishing this list of activities all around the world. Check out what's up, or submit your own event! Via la DAAs! (Diabetes Awareness Activities!)

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.