Did you see the smoke? Yes, once again I have been thinking. As I put away the dishes in the dishwasher and listened to the radio, my mind began to wander. I was listening to stories of the latest cancer relay. I had heard of celebrity involvement in a recent camp day benefit. I had received a great note from a friend who had done a story on someone involved in the Edmonton protocol who wanted to share. All of this together in my head as I dealt with my domestic duties sent me carening into one direction…Advocacy!
It may seem weird but that is how I ended up there. I began to think back to an idea that was presented to me years ago. It was from a diabetes organization in another province. They wanted people to truly understand and “get” what was involved in living with diabetes–type 1 or 2. They went through a lot of planning. They had prizes and celebrities involved. They did not do a walk or have a car wash, they asked people in the public eye to live with diabetes for a day. They had them test and inject. They had to weigh carbs and deal with both highs and lows. They made them stop what they were doing and think about diabetes numerous times during their day.
I always thought that was powerful. The high profile people involved were from the media and the government. Getting to them was a great thing. Getting them to understand was even more powerful. This is something that I have wanted to do for years. I would LOVE to get tv people, radio people, and people in government (especially those in health and education) who had to experience what we do each day. I think the memory would stay with them for years. I know you could never get someone to voluntarily jab themselves with a needle 4+ times per day or even lance their finger but there are other ways to still make the point.
This brought me to another awareness effort that was done years ago. I believe it was through the JDRF but I could be wrong. It was again, a large organization who sent out emails multiple times during a specifice day–“test your blood”, “Inject”, “you are low, treat yourself and retest in 15 minutes”, “You are high. Drink a lot of water and inject”. This was great but emails are easy to ignore or put off. The use of an elastic to snap on your wrist for tests or injections was great however.
Awareness. Understanding. A knowledge of how serious diabetes truly is. That is what I would hope to accomplish if I could do something similar to these two ideas. To bring people to a new level of understanding. It would be wonderful for others to understand why we live in fear. It would be great for more governments to understand why we need help for our children and why our loved ones need access to these supplies and devices. It would be great for the media to grasp what this disease really is and take a bit more care in their reporting.
Maybe this is something I will have to work on. My November Diabetes Awareness project perhaps? What do you think?