Category: Diabetes Advocacy

#LaceUp4Diabetes – I'm Giving Away These Sweet Laces, Too!

unnamed-5I’m lazy. There. I said it. My cardiologist even told me: “You’re lazy.” (I like medical professionals who don’t beat around the bush.)

I need more exercise. O.K., I need to starting doing some exercise.

Ironically, Novo Nordisk contacted me a few days after my doctor’s appointment and asked me if I would participate in their #LaceUp4Diabetes campaign to show how we can take steps to reduce the risk of diabetes (or in my case, reduce my laziness and my blood glucose levels at the same time!). Of course, I said: Shoelaces?! Count me in!

I’ve got five extra sets of laces and I want to send them to five lucky random people within the next few days, so they can participate in the #LaceUp4Diabetes campaign on World Diabetes Day (November 14th…)

Here’s how you can get these sweet (yep, pun intended) laces:

Take a picture of you in your sneakers. (Points for creativity, you know! Think outside the box… or the sneakers in this case. Please do wear clothes.) Then, by Monday, November 9, 2015 at 5pm:

  • Instagram the pic using the #LaceUp4Diabetes as a hashtag and theperfectdblog in the caption (this way I’ll know it was meant for this giveaway!)
  • Facebook the pic using the #LaceUp4Diabetes as a hashtag and upload it to ThePerfectD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectD What? You aren’t a fan of this page yet? All the cool kids are fans. Come jump off a bridge with us!
  • Tweet the pic using the #LaceUp4Diabetes as a hostage and mentioning @theperfectdblog in the tweet. Don’t follow me yet? Follow me. I’ll lead you down the primrose path or the yellow brick road or the rabbit hole, but I promise it will be fun!

I’ll select five lucky people based on creativity and ingenuity and the results from the swimsuit competition.  

I’ll announce the crazy people who participated and won on Tuesday, November 10th.

#LaceUp4Diabetes – I’m Giving Away These Sweet Laces, Too!If you’re selected, I’ll ask for your email and mail address and I’ll ship these laces out to you ASAP so you can have them by November 14, 2015.

You don’t have to have diabetes to participate. You just have to want to help take a single step towards diabetes awareness. 

As for me, I’m going to take a step. I’m joining a gym and will make it a priority to work out three days a week, even when I’m traveling. I’m packing my sneakers with the laces that remind me that I have the power to help myself…

Disclosure: Novo Nordisk sent me six pairs of shoelaces with no instructions. I’m doing this giveaway of my own free will and sending these to five people (because I kept a pair and laced them up on my sneaks…) of my own money (which I wish was free). They didn’t ask me to write about this. They didn’t ask me to share anything. We are a community. Sharing and helping and supporting is what we do. 

If you want to find out if you’re at risk of diabetes: AskScreenKnow.com

If you want to get a personalized support program for people who live with diabetes – and their caregivers: Cornerstones4Care.com

If you want to learn more about Novo Nordisk: novonordisk-us.com

Take a step, take a photo, win shoelaces. Go!

 

The Teal Pumpkin Project + Diabetes

TPPshare1Diabetes can be a drag around Halloween. Back in “the day” (I can say that, right? 32 years ago is “the day” for me.), Halloween meant ignoring the call of the candy that was pretty much verboten back then. (Excitement was that 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream for special occasions. Halloween wasn’t a special occasion.) There weren’t any handy-dandy lists of bite-sized candy carb counts like there are now.

Very few houses on my Halloween trick-or-treating route (although after I was diagnosed, I was almost too old to trick/treat) gave out anything but candy – I got a spool of floss one time. Oooh. Not cool.

The Teal Pumpkin Project™ raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. I’m all for it, because let’s be real: it’s not just kids with diabetes that make Halloween a nightmare for parents. It’s kids with food allergies and kids with celiac disease.

Launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014, over 100,000 households in the United States are committed to offering non-food items to little ghouls and goblins. I’m going to participate this year and you can, too.

How do you participate?

1, Go here: The Teal Pumpkin Project™ website. 

2. Download a pre-made sign to put on your door (or if you’re fancy, a poster) that lets people know you are offering non-food items as treats. (You can click on these images and go directly to the download page for these signs.)

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Note: You can STILL OFFER CANDY. I know that some people are just hard wired to want to offer candy (And truth? Some Halloween candy gets purchased and put to use for low blood sugars in my house.)

3. You can paint a teal pumpkin to place outside your home. (I used this an excuse to go to Michael’s and get all crafty.) We painted pumpkins yesterday with neighbors and our kids, talking about why we are doing this with our four-year-olds.

4. You can share the information with your neighbors and get them involved. You can put your home on a “food allergy” crowdsourced map so people in your area can show they are offering non-food items.

5. On Halloween, offer non-food items to trick-or-treaters (or give them options…).

What are non-food items?

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils

If you come to my house, you’ll get glow in the dark bracelets and glow in the dark rings. (I might have purchased WAY more than we need. I’ll be glowing in November. You can have one.)

So join me in participating in this project… and help make Halloween a little more fun and a little less scary for all of us.

“The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).”

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Diabetes Advisory Council

advocacy-1142138-640x640If you ever wonder what happens after you attend MasterLab, offered by Diabetes Hands Foundation and a speaker asks a great question…

“How many of you know what your state’s Diabetes Action Plan is?”

Great question… and sitting there, I had no clue. I didn’t know.

This is what happens.

I went home and I did research, because I was curious. And then more research and I grew more curious. And I found out that in my state, they actually have a Diabetes Advisory Council that must have 3 people with diabetes in its ranks.

The Diabetes Advisory Council advises the state on diabetes prevention, diagnosis, education, care, treatment, impact, and costs. It helps to create the very Action Plan that the speaker mentioned.

So…

I applied to be one of those three people.

And today, I can announce that I have been appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the Diabetes Advisory Council for the State of Florida.

Here’s the takeaway from all this…

  • Ask questions when your own answer is: “I don’t know.” You might be surprised at what you find.
  • Think about what you can do, no matter how big or how small, to make an impact. It’s not just the federal stuff that it’s important. It’s the local and the state stuff, too.
  • Reach for the seemingly impossible. (I certainly never expected to be appointed.)
  • Know that when the impossible happens, you can do it, because you have a community of people who support you as you support them.

If you had asked me three years ago if I was a diabetes advocate, I would have laughed in your face. I had no clue what being a diabetes advocate means. (And I thought: Who has time? Someone else will do advocacy. )

Today, without a doubt, I know the answer:

“I am a diabetes advocate.”

Everyone impacted by diabetes is a diabetes advocate. I am part of this amazing community of diabetes advocates.

I am so honored to help my community in the State of Florida and look forward to the opportunities to serve where I can.

5 Things I Learned from Meeting With My Congressman About Diabetes

washington-dc-7-1230576-639x852In the United States, we vote to have individuals represent us in Congress. Senators and representatives are “hired” by us to speak up and vote on important issues that impact our lives. Sounds like a cushy job, right? Show up, vote on a bill or two, then go home and talk to the people in your district that voted you in.

They wish.

Do you know how many bills and resolutions get introduced in Congress every two years? (We are currently in the 114th Congress, which began on January 6, 2015 and will run until January 5, 2017.) On average…about 12,000.

6,000 bills and resolutions per year. 

Some don’t get far. Some do. The 113th Congress enacted 296 laws and passed 663 resolutions in their two years. (Example of a resolution? S.Res. 564 (113th): A resolution honoring conservation on the centennial of the passenger pigeon extinction. Seriously.)

Legislation regarding diabetes is part of those 6,000 bills and resolutions each year. Just as I don’t expect medical professionals to understand every subtle nuance of diabetes technology, I don’t expect that my congressperson would be able to pull the diabetes bills currently on the Hill out of thin air. It’s madness. You try to remember 6,000 things!

That’s why, if you want your congressperson to be able to cosponsor or act on diabetes bills, after you send a message to your state’s reps in Congress, you can take another, more personal step… you can visit.

That’s what I did last week.

And this is what I learned about meeting with your congressperson about diabetes:

1. Be flexible with your appointment time.

I made this appointment to visit with him while he was back in the district back in March. It was changed about four times, as my representative had a limited time in the district this summer during break. I didn’t care. I wanted to meet with him and would have rearranged my schedule four more times to ensure we could meet. And once I was there, I waited. Just like a medical appointment. Just like waiting for a medical appointment, it was worth waiting for.

You might think it’s easier to get an appointment in DC, but in many cases, it’s not. It’s much easier to schedule a meeting when they are in their own districts. (And it’s cheaper for you, too!)

paper-pile-1238396-639x8502. Don’t show up unprepared.

You need to know what the bills numbers are, what they are asking to do, who the original sponsor is, and if you can, the financial impact of the bill on the U.S. public. Print the pertinent information out to give to the rep and/or staff person. It doesn’t have to be pretty; it just has to be accurate.(But don’t print out a ream of paper. It won’t get read. Give them all a few pages of the top info at most.)

I also printed out brief information regarding continuous glucose monitoring and the CGM Medicare Act of 2015, along with a list of his peers in our state and whether they had cosponsored any of the current bills on diabetes, and topped it off with the number of people in our state with diabetes, compared to the rest of the country. 

You are there to share why the congressperson should support this issue. Why usually includes a personal story – you, a family member, a friend… but keep it short. Very short. No life stories that take a year to tell. Practice or write down your short personal story and how it’s relevant to what you’re asking your congressperson to do.

3. Your congressperson has a staff. They are just as important as your congressperson.

While I wanted to speak directly with the congressman, I also knew that best laid plans don’t always happen. More importantly, the staff your congressperson has? Brilliant. They are the ones to advise, assist, and get a lot of the hard work in Congress done. They may look young, but they have the congressperson’s ear (and they are brilliant…). Be nice to staff. Super nice. Not only is it just polite, but they are the ones that can help you get your points about diabetes across.

4. Dilly dally and you lose. Get to the point.

Thank your congressperson and staff for their time right out of the gate. Then don’t waste a minute of it. 

Begin with your name and the bill (or two bills) that you want to talk about. (Don’t try to shove ALL the bills about diabetes into a meeting. You can’t cover all of them at once and you’re less likely to get a cosponsor for all of them.) Have the written information readily available. Some people like to look at the information as you go, while sometimes the staff take notes on the info you give.

Then give your quick personal story and how the passage of this particular bill will help people of diabetes. Answer any question that might come up about diabetes. Most people aren’t experts on diabetes. Even the simplest questions will help with their decisions to co-sponsor.

This meeting, I focused on two bills that I wanted my congressman to co-sponsor: the CGM Medicare Act of 2015 and the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act. Why these two?

I won’t be eligible for Medicare for a long while, but the CGM Medicare bill is important to me because it will help make it easier for artificial pancreas technology to be covered (and because I have friends who NEED this bill because they are on Medicare and they have Type 1).

And 37 federal agencies trying to work together on diabetes issues isn’t an efficient way to work; the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act will get them to communicate…

My meeting lasted less than ten minutes. He had others waiting (including one woman who came in with, I’m not kidding, two binders weighing five pounds each. Uh-oh.) and I had gotten my points across.

5. Thank them.

Send an email or a letter after your meeting, letting the staff and the congressperson know that you appreciated the meeting and the opportunity to share your thoughts.

Ask them once again to consider co-sponsoring the bill(s) and provide them with the bill number and the title of the bill (remember… 6,000 bills and resolutions each year!).

What happened after my meeting?

My congressman’s staff person sent me a quick email later that day, telling me that the he was cosponsoring both bills. The high that I felt was not from my blood sugars.

We’ve got a lot of Congress that needs to know about these bills and why they’re important to all of us. Some understand and some just don’t know. Congress represents the U.S. population – and 29 million of us have diabetes. We need them to understand that we need your help.

Where can you start if you want to meet your representative to talk about diabetes?

Do you know who your representatives for Congress are? Easy to find out…

Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition can help by inputting your zip code. (And if you haven’t sent an email to your rep, now’s the perfect time!)

Once you’ve got the names of your representatives, you can go to their websites and find out how to set a meeting. Sometimes you can call the office and sometimes you can send a meeting request via Internet.

I recommend that you arrange to have a meeting when the rep is home in the district, rather than DC.

I’d love to hear from you and your experiences on meeting with your representatives about diabetes. What questions did they have for you? Did they cosponsor? If they didn’t… what was the reason they gave? 

 

Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition

Today, please take a moment to head over to www.diabetespac.org and review the latest actions that you can take to let policy makers know that diabetes isn’t a box to be checked.

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