What awesome thing have you done because of diabetes? This was Day 5 of Diabetes BlogFest’s question. I apologize for being late, but Blogger was giving me such a hard time that I didn’t get this done when I should but I promise to provide an answer anyway.
There is so much that has happened because Diabetes moved into our lives. I have met amazing friends. I have connected with incredible networks. I have had the privilege to speak with so many people whose families are impacted by diabetes.
I have worked to give back as much as I can. I have done talks on dealing with diabetes and schools here in Canada. I have written letters, articles and talked about diabetes on TV and radio. I have advocated to protect the rights our children with diabetes in school, to get all people living with diabetes insulin pumps and better access to supplies, and a few other things.
One of the most well known of those fights is the fight to have fair and equal access to something called the “Disability Tax Credit“. Before Diabetes I did not know anything about this tax credit (the DTC). I was not that well versed on tax law period. I have always been someone who would voice their opinion on a perceived injustice however. When I applied for this tax credit for my son with Type 1 diabetes, I quickly saw how unjust the tax system was to people with Type 1 diabetes.
I have written about this battle before. The short version goes as follows–I applied for the Disability Tax credit for my son. It was clear to me that he required Life Sustaining Therapy. I had seen what would happen if he did not receive insulin and giving him insulin required most of my day to monitor and adjust. The federal government did not see things quite as clearly as I did and it became my job to educate them.
With the help of an incredible mentor, our story was presented to a committee who was looking at the fairness of the current DTC system. We knew the system to be anything but fair. To get this credit if you had diabetes you had to be strong, have an education and possibly even a lawyer. This was not right.
Through my website, a large number of people joined me in writing letters, questioning the Finance department, and contacting their MP. By the year 2003, the Federal government announced changes in their budget. It was first time that a disease and such a change was announced with the Federal budget. The changes to the DTC would cost over $40million. That is money that would go back into the hands of people living with diabetes. It was a surreal victory that brought me to tears.
Without Diabetes, I would never have known about this problem. I would never have taken up the fight and I would never have been able to help facilitate a change in tax law that continues to help people living with diabetes to this day.