Thursday, 11 October 2012

The media are coming...

World Diabetes Day is just over a month away. You may ask what is this day really all about? Well, in my opinion, it's main focus is to unite all those who have diabetes and all those who are involved in the care and treatment of people with diabetes and in unison we highlight the importance of being diabetes aware and raise some advocacy matters. "The campaign draws attention to issues of importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight." Source: (

As a result of this concentration of focus, there will be lots of media coverage on diabetes. Journalists will scurry to find people with diabetes to tell their stories and it will mostly focus on the hardships of living with diabetes of which there are quite a few. There will also be a lot of confusion that will result in people becoming annoyed because there will be failures to clarify diabetes types. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes will all be classified as diabetes.

Even though it's difficult not to get annoyed and frustrated with the media I urge people to express tolerance (afterall we didn't know a lot about diabetes ourselves before it came barging into our lives) - use this as an opportunity to educate the media about the differences. (Log onto this page for more information on the differences between type 1 and type 2, scroll to the bottom of the page). We, in Ireland, can use this opportunity to highlight the fact that with proper medical care and patient education people with diabetes can live better, healthier and longer than people without diabetes.

We can highlight the things that people with diabetes need but don't have in this country at the moment.

We can tell people that Irish children with diabetes deserve as much access to insulin pumps as those in the US or the UK and more diabetes education courses for their parents.

We can tell people that adults with diabetes need more efficient, better resourced clinics and more structured diabetes education.

We can let people know that all people with diabetes should get an annual eye screening to detect diabetic eye disease and prevent 1 person per week from going blind.

We can tell people that ALL pregnant women should be screened for gestational diabetes!

We can share our own stories.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Me-volunteer of the year???

Last week, I got a letter from Diabetes Ireland telling me that I have been nominated, along with 3 other people, for the Diabetes Ireland Volunteer of the Year award. I was quite taken aback and found myself getting a bit weepy.
I don't know who took the time to nominate me but I'm deeply grateful and humbled that you did.
I have so many emotions surrounding this nomination that it's taken me some time to identify them and to be able to articulate them.
Firstly, I'm overwhelmed that someone out there thinks kindly of me AND went to the effort of putting together a short essay on me!
I also feel a wee bit guilty for being nominated because I the personal reward for me has already been so great. Through volunteering, I have become a more confident person, very unlike the little mouse who sat at the back of the classroom hoping the teacher wouldn't notice me. I've learned that I'm capable of anything; all I need is an idea that I believe in, time and google.
I also feel a wee bit guilty because I originally got involved with Diabetes Ireland for selfish reasons. I wanted a diabetes support group for myself. The benefit of hearing other peoples diabetes stories has been ten-fold for me. They are my role models.
I'm a bit embarrassed because some of the things I've done in diabetes I only did because they needed to be done; kind of like emptying the dishwasher.
I think most people who volunteer don't do it to win awards, myself included, but every now and again it's nice to hear a "thank you". I look forward to meeting the other 3 nominees and hearing their diabetes stories.
The winner will be announced at Diabetes Ireland's Annual General Meeting which will be held in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin on Sunday 11th November at 12.15pm.
P.S. There are a lot of others in Ireland who volunteer to raise awareness about diabetes, fight for a better health service for us and who fund-raise like mad to make sure that Diabetes Ireland can keep up the fight. I thank you for your work.