Spare a Rose, Save a Child

I am not really into Valentines Day.  When my boys were younger, we did the cards for their class. If I was feeling creative, we did “hugs and kisses” or Valentine pencils.  For those times when I totally forgot that Valentines was about to happen, we did heart shaped sugar cookies that the boys took to share with their class. 

My boys are now much older and school Valentines are no longer important.   This weekend I received an email that has made this “Hallmark holiday” very special however. Diabetes Advocates and the Diabetes Online Community have come together to help the Life for a child program, sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation, which aims to take “contributions for donors (to) go to established diabetes centers enabling them to provide the ongoing clinical care and diabetes education these children need to stay alive.” 

There have been times in the past 13 years when money was tight, insurance was not available and I had to limit the amount of testing my son did during the run of a day.  That was scary enough but I never had to worry about him not having insulin to cover his food or stay healthy.  For children in developing countries, these worries are very real but this Valentines Day you can help! 

Spare a Rose, Save a Child, is a simple and amazing way to make a difference.  This year, when you head out to buy your beloved a dozen roses buy eleven.  No, you will not then be spending your night alone or sleeping on the couch because you will have taken the money that would have paid for that last rose and donated it to the Life for a Child program! You will have helped to save a child with one beautiful rose.  Your partner will love your thoughtfulness much more than the extra rose.  It really is a win-win opportunity!

So if you were planning on sending me a dozen roses on Thursday, I will fully understand when I receive 11–actually I will be pleased to note that a child will be able to inject life saving insulin for another week because I received one less rose. And, if you weren’t sending them to me, I am sure whomever was getting them will be just as happy to know that you spared a rose to save a child

Happy Valentines Day!

How to cure ignorance

Recently there was an uproar in the Diabetes Online Community(DOC) regarding a comedy skit done by a well known comedian.  I did not see the offending piece partially because it was blocked from viewing outside of the US and partially because I really didn’t want to go there. I was told it was exceptionally rude and offensive. 

Over the years I have seen many campaigns by parents of children with diabetes to set the record straight.  In some cases there was success (Disney held off on an episode of Miley Cyrus’s show because of outrage at how a character with diabetes was to be portrayed). In other cases, there was no real change. 

I used to get completely outraged as well until I stepped back for a second. I began to realize that I knew nothing about diabetes before my son’s diagnosis.  I now know far too much.  If I considered myself to be an educated woman and my knowledge was so limited then how could I be so quick to condemn others in the general public who get it wrong? I decided that I couldn’t but I could educate.  So I did. 

Does this give the media a free pass? Was I saying that it was okay for reporters and writers of TV shows to get it wrong? No but again, I had to look at it from a different perspective–did they get other diseases right? Were they accurately reporting on conditions such as autism or MS?  Probably not. They dumb things down.  They simplify things and they get just enough information to make their stories interesting. Its all about ratings and readership but I still would take the time to point out to friends and those who would listen the errors I could see. 

So does my passivity mean that it is okay to use diabetes as the butt of jokes? No but then again, I also do not believe in racist jokes, sexist jokes, or homophobic jokes. I see nothing funny about bullying or putting down another group or individual to make yourself look better. I just don’t find that funny.  

Someone noted that comedians would never dare do a skit about breast cancer but because diabetes has been portrayed as something preventable it is fair game. How do we fix this? Do we just let it go? No.  

I don’t have the answers. I try to pick my battles. I have always believed that if I do not like something–be it children’s programming or the jokes of a supposed comedian, I don’t watch.  If you don’t watch or don’t read, then they do not make money and their point of view becomes unimportant once again. I won’t promote them or name them and have people adding to their traffic and supposed popularity.  

I also believe in the power of standing up for yourself. I am open about our life with diabetes–the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I speak about it whenever and where ever I can. I invite people who live with diabetes to also be vocal–to dispel myths and present facts.  Its a powerful thing. It has been done before and we will do it again.  

Diabetes Mine recently posted an article about the new power of the DOC.  Perhaps with that power, we will begin to see change in how diabetes–Type 1 and Type 2 are displayed to the general public in all areas. Sadly the diabetes community has grown over the years. With that growth, I believe, will come a stronger and louder voice.  

Day 7: What do you get out of the DOC?

We have finally reached day 7 of Dblog week and once again it was challenging week.  The topics asked me to look at things from a different perspective.  I loved the great pictures of all things diabetes and appreciated the unique perspectives that we all come from. 

Today we are asked to discuss what the diabetes online community has done for us.  For me, it kept me sane! I began this journey into the online world approximately ten years ago.  Before that time I knew very little about computers.  I knew nothing about the Internet and had no clue as to how one created a website.  I lived in a small, isolated community and was raising two young boys with no immediate family around to rely on.  I often felt overwhelmed and alone.

My mom convinced me to join the age of technology and “go online”.  I immediately searched for other people like me “Parents of Children with Diabetes”. For those who are PoCWDs, you know exactly what that search came up with.  I came across my first and most lasting support source of support–the Children with Diabetes website.  They offered me answers.  They taught me what questions to ask.  They gave me the courage to stand on my own and to stand up for the rights of my son and others.  They offered me a safe place to vent and a place where people understood.

The online community expanded and I have been blessed to meet many more people who have Diabetes as an unwelcome house guest. I created my own website that attracted new friends to me.  We worked together and amazing things happened.  Over time the online community began to change.  People wanted to know more about our lives and so my blog was born.

I had written about our challenges in fighting for the disability tax credit.  I discussed the fight that was involved in getting insulin pump coverage for our province.  I also chatted about the challenges of living with diabetes.  Family and friends who didn’t have diabetes did not always understand.  My blog became the place to help them have a glimpse into our lives.

It worked. Some people learned.  It also became great therapy for me. I could vent and scream (as much or more than previously) and people began to comment that they were living the same life.  I began to follow their posts as well and my diabetes world expanded that much more. 

What has the diabetes online community given to me? A place of understanding.  A group who “gets it”.  A place to challenge me to rise to new heights.  A group of people who inspire me. A group of people who ground me.  Its not a bad group to be a part of!