Today’s suggestion from Wego Health’s HAWMC challenge is to answer these questions:
- “If I could do anything as a Health Activist…” What is your biggest goal that is now possible?
- What’s your one, three, or five year plan for your Health Activism?
1. Simple. If money is no object, then cure diabetes.
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…)