Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.
Getting involved in diabetes awareness can seem complicated and time consuming if you are not sure where to begin. But be assured, it can be as simple as the click of a mouse from the comfort of your own home. There are many opportunities available at many different levels of involvement that you can choose.
When you use the Internet to spread diabetes awareness, your voice can reach farther, and you can connect with more people. During Diabetes Awareness Month, there are great opportunities to spread the word that aren’t available throughout the rest of the year, especially around World Diabetes Day.
Here are seven ideas and websites where you can find online campaigns to participate in.
World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day is November 14th. On this day there are many events globally that take place that you can participate in and post about online. This year the theme is centered around healthy living and diabetes, with an emphasis on starting each day with eating a healthy breakfast. If you would like to join others from around the world in recognizing World Diabetes Day, you can find more information about the events on the International Diabetes Federation website.
Resources you can share
If you are nervous about what information to share, you can find some great information from many reputable organizations including the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). During Diabetes Awareness Month, they post easy-to-read fact sheets where you can get simple and powerful statistics and information that you can share with your family and friends.
Finding diabetes awareness pages on Facebook
When it comes to sharing what you know about diabetes online, you can use social media as a tool to help you. Facebook has numerous diabetes awareness pages that you can find by searching diabetes awareness. Many of these groups support or have started their own grassroots campaigns to raise diabetes awareness. They also have information you can share on your own page and send to family and friends.
You can do the same on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Social media is a great device to spread awareness about diabetes.
If you aren’t very familiar with online social media, you can send out an email and request that your family and friends pass it on so that it can reach as many people as possible.
A 24-hour diabetes awareness Twitter chat
On November 14, World Diabetes Day, a group called the Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation (dcaf) is hosting an all-day Twitter chat. If you're unfamiliar with Twitter chats, it's really easy. In this case, check on Twitter for the hashtag (which is like an index for all Twitter posts) #WDDChat15. Each hour will have a different host and a different theme. Hosts will post questions that you can respond to by simply including the same hashtag in your answer.
Diabetes awareness walks
If you are interested in getting involved in person, there are many cities that organize awareness events during the month of November and throughout the rest of the year. There are fundraising walks in cities across the U.S. that help raise funds for diabetes awareness and research. You can participate in Step Out, a walk that raises funds for the American Diabetes Association that is put on in several cities. JDRF also hosts a walk to cure diabetes called One Walk that you can join in.
The Big Blue Test
The Big Blue Test is a great event that you don’t have to gather in a large group to do. It consists of testing your blood sugar anytime between now and World Diabetes Day, then exercising and testing again and sharing your results on the Big Blue Test website. Each blood sugar entered is matched by a donation that goes to various groups that help people living with diabetes in need of supplies and other resources.
There are many opportunities to spread awareness about diabetes—some online, some in person with organized events in your area, and some worldwide that you can still do as one individual. You just have to take the initiative. Do a little research and find the right fit for you, because the world needs to know about this disease, and your fellow diabetics need your help in spreading the word.