HAWMC Day 5 – If I Could Do Anything…

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Today’s suggestion from Wego Health’s HAWMC challenge is to answer these questions:

  1. “If I could do anything as a Health Activist…” What is your biggest goal that is now possible?
  2. What’s your one, three, or five year plan for your Health Activism?

Here goes:

1. Simple. If money is no object, then cure diabetes. 

The end. 

I’d do it by getting all the top scientists in the world in a room, locking them in, and not letting them out until they’ve come up with a cure for what ails me and a lot of other people. It’s amazing what people can do when they are forced to concentrate on a single task with unlimited resources and money – and only one bathroom. We’re so close. So damn close. But we’re not there yet.

Yeah, OK. Not possible at this point, but if I had access to a lot of money and people (and time, which is a precious commodity when you have a toddler who thinks eating waffles in the shower is perfectly acceptable…) I would kick diabetes awareness into super-high gear.

Stand Up To Cancer is a great example of what I’d love to do. All the major networks, all the stars, and all.that.money.for.research. I want that. We have some people in the limelight who have Type 1 diabetes: Mary Tyler-Moore, one of the Jonas brothers, Halle Berry (who refuses to acknowledge that she is, but whatever), but for some reason, diabetes just isn’t sexy enough for the mainstream. I want to make diabetes sexy. Hot. For prime-time viewing.

But in the meantime, I’ll work on…

2. My one, three, and five year plan? It’s still all about awareness and advocacy. 

A few years ago, I participated in a social media summit with other online diabetes leaders. We were all pretty excited that we had been able to electronically touch about a million people. Then I ran some quick numbers, stood up and said: “We have reached only 5% of the 21+ million diabetics in the U.S. alone. What about the other 95%?”

We have even more diabetics in the country right now and even more who don’t know they have it. Most of them are Type 2, but I believe in awareness and advocacy for all. And a lot of them, unfortunately, have not found the DOC and all the great resources that are out there to help. Why?

  • They don’t have access to the Internet. (I know what you’re thinking. Believe me. I’ve met some of these people. It’s not that they don’t want it; they can’t afford it.)
  • They don’t see a specialist. They’re diagnosed by a general practitioner or at a clinic, handed a piece of paper with some basic information, and told not to eat too many sweets. Often, there is no follow up. Six months or a year goes by, and the only time they’ll show up at the doctor’s office again is if they have an acute condition that needs treatment.
  • They don’t know where to start. Offline support groups are available, but it’s hard to learn about them. Even for me, living in a major city, has a problem learning where the local support groups are.

So, my goal is to reach the 95% and get them the help they need, teaching them how to advocate for themselves and stay healthy.

If I could do anything?

There is no “if”.

I can do anything.

Let’s do this. Want to help? What are your suggestions?

(Day 4 was supposed to be about creating a list of resources for advocacy. Instead, I wrote myself a letter in honor of my 30th year of living with Type 1 diabetes. It had a tip on advocacy in it, and in itself, was kind of an advocacy piece. So, I’m calling my Day 4 done. Moving on…)

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