While doing birthday greetings this morning I went to the page for “Bebo321” and she has a simple yet provocative question on her page. “Diabetes blogging, how do you advocate”? I suppose it is provocative for me since I started blogging.
By the way this is blog number 131, of my personal commitment to write 200 blogs. So I have written 130 blogs, and Bebo on her page asked the question, how do you advocate for diabetes?
The online free dictionary “Merriam- Webster” defines advocacy as follows:
“a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy
a person who works for a cause or group
a person who argues for the cause of another person in a court of law”
I suppose I do argue, though I hope not too much arguing, for diabetic safety, knowledge and for the full range of the diabetic experience. Let’s face it diabetes is about more than injections, insulin, treatments and complications. Diabetics like all people also are about having fun, laughing and are silly sometimes.
Though I doubt Bebo is thinking of diabetic fun when she asks how to advocate for improvement in diabetic lives. One way I could do this is by joining the advocacy efforts of Junior Diabetic Research Foundation ( JDRF), American Diabetic Association ( ADA) or the Canadian Diabetic Association (CDA). All three have extensive advocacy programs, in fact the JDRF seems to flood my email with calls for me to go see my congressman and senator demanding more research dollars. Somehow I think me going will not do much to increase any research dollars very much. Still the ADA, JDRF and likely the CDA push members to be the “voice of advocacy”. I guess I do not feel like the voice of advocacy because I have never taken them up on their offer to go to Washington or a field office in order to be ignored in person. Instead I stay home and Blog.
Another way to advocate is to assist other diabetics. To me this is true advocacy and those who do it deserve our best thanks. When I had a source I supported an Aides shelter with diabetic supplies. It is tough to imagine that an Aides shelter would be worried about diabetic supplies. Unfortunately diabetes shows up everywhere, including in Aides shelters and while I had but a few supplies those who got them were grateful. It was one less thing a very ill diabetic population who was waiting on a disability determination had to worry about. Unfortunately, I lost my source supplies, and I have to hope someone stepped in to fill the breach. In a place like the aides shelter even getting basic food supplies is difficult.
Of course we know that no one need give a single item in order to advocate for diabetes. According to the ADA 25% of the American adult population over 60 has diabetes (http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/programs/older-adults/) . According to Askville (an amazon subsidy) that represents about 12 million Americans
(http://askville.amazon.com/percent-population-country-age-60/Answer...). We know of course that a simple visit can often make a big difference to people over 60 and many of those 12 million Americans are lonely and crave human contact. We can advocate by giving attention to this population. In fact in some ways the TUDiabetes chat site is a wonderful way to welcome diabetics of all ages into human fellowship.
Which brings me around to TUDiabetes and its main mission. Our co-founder Manny Hernandez says that one reason he started this site was so no diabetic would have to ever feel alone or isolated again. This site, if used well does that. It is one of the things I love about it and the one thing that caused me to self-commit to write 200 blogs here. I wanted to contribute to diabetics not being alone. Oh and yes my wife and I support this site financially. We feel that this site’s mission is very important. We are proud of what we do here to support communication between diabetics. I hope you will do so as well, it is important for our site and important for our continued use of the site. So yes advocacy is important and yes when this site operates 24/7 we are seeing advocacy in action. Obviously we are asking for and hope you will support it financially.
So does blogging work for advocacy? I think it just did. If you support this site financially it will do even more. Thanks in advance for keeping the TUDiabetes mission going. Even bigger things are on the way.