This is my first contribution to my first #DBlogWeek. The topic is activism/policy/advocacy and I’m going to be completely honest with you. I have had type 1 diabetes for 33 years and I can’t consider myself an advocate.
I am so heavily involved in non-profit fundraising. I’ve run races, volunteered at countless events, I even baked, frosted and delivered 37 dozen cupcakes in 48 hours to raise money for the Red Cross this year. You would think that with all of the time spent donating, some of it would have been for something diabetes-related. But it hasn’t.
It’s not that I don’t see it as an important cause, it’s not that I don’t have a passion for awareness and fundraising. It’s really about a smidge of denial. Everything that I’ve donated my time and money toward was always to benefit those in dire need. Those who had lost everything in a tornado, those battling cancer, kids suffering through bone marrow transplants. But diabetes was something that I have lived with for so long and that I could control, it wasn’t as important as all of those other causes.
What I realized as I tried to think of what I would write about with this post was that it’s not about me. It’s about the child recently diagnosed whose parents can’t afford medication. It’s about the type 2 patient who has no access to support or education. It’s about the people that haven’t been as lucky as I have to have access and support. It’s also about me being able to face that the disease that I have is serious enough that it does need attention.
I have no idea how much of a struggle it was for my parents to afford medication and supplies for not one but two diabetic children (my sister is also type 1). They never let us know if there was any difficulty with providing us with what we needed (which I’m sure there was since my dad was self-employed and my mom was at home with us). But every time I think of a parent who is not only struggling with a sick child but also struggling to afford the ridiculously expensive medication that is required to keep their child alive, my heart breaks.
So that is where my passion for policy and advocacy lies. For the kids whose parents need more. More support, more funding, more supplies, more help with keeping their kids alive. No parent should have to tell their child that they can’t afford to keep them alive. My hope is that I can find a way to be a part of that help.