Hi friends! Happy November 1st!
As you probably know by now, I’ve been crazy at work over the last few months getting ready for today, which is the start of American Diabetes Month.
Diabetes is a huge problem, with 1 in 11 Americans having the disease and 1 in 3 being at risk for type 2. It’s something that’s important to me at a personal level, which I’ll explain more in a minute.
This year for our campaign, we’re celebrating all the heroes who live with diabetes and all of the loved ones out there who are also affected by it. Here are some of the ads we came up with this year for the campaign – I think they turned out pretty cute!
As far as our call to action for the campaign, we have a few (you can find all of them here!), but the one I think is the most meaningful/important to me personally is to write a letter to “Diabetes,” and share it on social media using #DearDiabetes.
This campaign will primarily take place on social media, so we’re asking people to consider what they would say in a message to Diabetes and then share it. We’re hoping to get a bunch of different responses–whether they’re empowering, angry, sad, or something different altogether. Of course I can’t ask people to do this without doing one myself, so here’s my letter to Diabetes!
I’m not sure when I started thinking about you so much—it was probably sometime after college when I finally started to learn more about healthy eating and exercise, and I learned that by following healthy habits I’d probably be able to keep you away. In 2013 or so I started working for a nonprofit called The Obesity Society, and I learned so much more about you—namely that people who have obesity are at great risk of meeting you.
That, of course, made me think about my family. Do you want to know why I started getting so interested in health in the first place? Sure, a big part of it was because I needed to learn how to balance a day job, a sweet tooth, happy hours, and post-college life without gaining a bunch of weight. But an even bigger part was because I was worried about my dad’s health.
My dad doesn’t know much about nutrition, and he won’t go near a vegetable. He consumes so many calories without even realizing it, and he doesn’t seem to care. He won’t exercise because his knees are bad, but I know now how small a part exercise plays when it comes to weight. The more I started to learn about you, Diabetes, the more I started to wonder when you’d come visit my dad. I felt like it would be soon, and I wanted to do what I could to stop you.
So then I landed a new job at the American Diabetes Association. While working there, I got to plan fun activities like “Get Fit Don’t Sit Day” and “National Healthy Lunch Day.” I got to look at recipes and use a treadmill desk and take free fitness classes in the middle of my workday. While these are all the perks I expected from my job, there are so many more that I didn’t anticipate.
I got to meet people like Mary, whose whole family has been affected by you. She held her mom’s hand as she took her last breath, dying from complications you brought. I got to sit next to (and make great friends with) Dani, who bravely jokes about how it’s hard for her to take her insulin shot when she wears a dress or romper. She pricks her finger all the time, though now she’s also getting used to wearing a new CGM, and she doesn’t ever complain. I meet these people and I talk to them and I hear how you affect them every day.
Since working for the ADA, I’ve also learned that you might never come visit my dad. I’ve learned that you come based on what people’s genetic makeup looks like—some people can be super unhealthy and overweight and never meet you. So there’s a chance my dad is in the clear. But there’s also a chance he’s not (risk increases with age), and there are millions of other Americans who definitely aren’t safe from you. 84 million American adults—1 in 3—is at risk of meeting you. 30 million Americans already have. 7 million have you, but aren’t diagnosed.
With numbers like that, I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be—spending my day working hard on marketing and communication campaigns, using my megaphone to tell more people about you. To tell them you’re a big problem, but there’s an easy way to learn if you’re at risk and then take action to prevent it.
So be on your guard, Diabetes. This is how I choose to spend my life: Doing everything I can to stop you.
Question of the day: What would you say to Diabetes? Share on social media using #DearDiabetes! 🙂