Two months ago, I wrote asking why there isn't more public outrage about the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with diabetes. I remember during the AIDS scare of the 1980s, we had people all over the world educating and working on prevention of the disease. Breast cancer is also all over the media with public service announcements encouraging women to get mammograms as well as products in our stores with pink ribbons, offering to make a donation with purchase. What about diabetes? Diabetes kills more people each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined, but there is no public outrage.
My goal, my purpose, my calling, is to help educate others about diabetes. Not just telling others what diabetes is (and is not), not just helping people recognize their risk for the disease, not just showing them what it's like for me to be diabetic. I want to help generate that public outrage. I want to get our leaders to see the urgency to find a cure for diabetes.
In mid-September of this year, the UN will have a summit on non-communicable diseases. How exciting would it be to have our very own President Barack Obama attend and participate in this summit! He would be a great example to other world leaders, demonstrating the need to come together.
The International Diabetes Federation is collecting postcards to send to President Obama, urging him to attend the summit. Please send one of your own by clicking here. It's free! The IDF will print if off and present them to our President on August 31st, so make sure to submit yours before then. You just have to fill out an online form or use Adobe Acrobat to create the postcard. They have pre-written messages or you can come up with your own.
I went to the website and submitted a postcard, but I wrote my own message because the pre-written ones seemed harsh and accusatory. They wouldn't inspire me to do anything. The actual statistic that is disturbing to me is that more people in the U.S. die of complications from diabetes every year than there are people who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Being person living with both diseases both causes are near and dear to my heart. I find that both diseases being considered "lifestyle diseases" makes getting sympathy much more difficult, but more so for diabetes than breast cancer. After all even the American Medical Association says that diabetes can be reversed and avoided by a healthy lifestyle. It would be more accurate for them to say that in some people diabetes can be kept in remission or avoided all together by a healthy lifestyle. It would a also be more gratifying if they would acknowledge how difficult it is to live that healthy lifestyle. As far as the tremendous amount of support and sympathy that breast cancer gets, almost all of it has come about by the efforts of a few driven and dedicated women, Nancy Goodman Brinkler, Dr. Susan Love and Dr. Marissa Weiss. In the books authored by Nancy Brinkler (Promise Me) and Dr. Susan Love (Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book)they describe their efforts to start up the organizations that they founded. A lot can be learned about cheer leading causes from them. If you are serious about starting a foundation for diabetes, I would strongly suggest that you read both books. Best of luck in your endeavors.