National Diabetes Week is soon coming to a close. Our next big diabetes event is World Diabetes Day in November. Campaigns running for these events often draw mixed reactions. Some will happily share and contribute, while others will always find something to criticise. You can’t please everyone.
For majority of the public who don’t live with diabetes, events like National Diabetes Week and World Diabetes Day flies under the radar. For me, it was slightly draining and disappointing to see the divide between the diabetes community. On the other hand it was inspiring to hear some personal stories and awesome to see some diabetes mythbusting happening. Not forgetting the launch of landmark research findings from the Diabetes MILES Youth Study, which has been superbly summarised by Renza on her blog – Diabetogenic.
On the #OzDOC tweetchat this week, we were asked what sort of diabetes awareness campaign we would like to see in the future. I was blown away at the different ideas and concepts people had. #OzDOC is filled with many smart and creative cookies! I started wondering why we don’t see different activities within communities to raise awareness for diabetes during National Diabetes Week.
There are so many ways of raising awareness for diabetes. After all, we are the ones who live with diabetes. There are some brilliant initiatives that go all year round such as Blue Fridays or WalkWithD. JDRF also host an annual JDRF One Walk (previously Walk to Cure) to raise awareness and funds for type 1 diabetes.
More importantly, the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACRBD) are doing an amazing job with their research into mental health, stigma and discrimination in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In fact, the ACBRD are involved in developing and evaluating the #280aday campaign, which will guide Diabetes Australia’s media strategy in the future. They are conducted the Diabetes MILES Youth Study mentioned earlier.
At the end of the day, it comes down to each and everyone one of us to help raise awareness of diabetes. Living with diabetes puts us in a good position to advocate for ourselves and others. Diabetes awareness campaigns are not the only time we can speak out. Raising awareness for diabetes and diabetes advocacy and can happen anywhere, anytime. At the same time, we need to be mindful of how we affect others. Remember that any type of diabetes is tough to live with and everyone deserves the same support and access to treatment and services without judgement.