I live with diabetes, study diabetes, volunteer for diabetes, write about diabetes. My life is entangled with diabetes. I am passionate about diabetes advocacy and putting a stop to diabetes discrimination and stigma. I heavily rely on the positive vibes and work of the Diabetes Online Community. I am constantly being inspired by what members of the DOC are up to and what researchers and healthcare professionals are doing to improve the lives of people with diabetes. In return, I am working hard to contribute something back to the diabetes community.
This week is National Diabetes Week. I really appreciate that we have a week dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes and events such as World Diabetes Day. There is so much left to educate the public and the media on about diabetes. Every type of diabetes is serious, complex and important to talk about. Sadly, many people choose to ignore the seriousness of diabetes until it happens to them.
Even more frustrating is the way diabetes is represented in the community and through the media. The message that diabetes can happen to anyone doesn’t seem to have sunken in. People with diabetes seem to be associated with obesity and poor lifestyle choices more often than not. Blame, shame and guilt will get us no where in diabetes advocacy and awareness raising.
In my mind, there are no types of diabetes. As long as a person has some form of diabetes, they are part of the diabetes community. Every person with diabetes deserves to be treated with respect, without judgement and with equal access to treatment and care – no matter the type of diabetes. Diabetes is also not that easy to define. We may have a few major groups, mainly type 1 and type 2. Yet I have met an increasing number of people who seem to have stumped doctors; people whose diabetes don’t quite fit into either category neatly – like myself.
Many of us in the diabetes community live, study and work with diabetes. But this week, let’s speak out extra loud to raise awareness for diabetes. This week for National Diabetes Week, keep an eye out for the hashtags #TypeAll and #WalkWithD. Let’s raise awareness for all type of diabetes by sharing our stories and by responding with encouragement and support.