The diabetes online community is a truly global network. We see that every week in tweetchats and anytime we log onto social media. We know that connections are made that are life changing and, (as in the case of my dear friend’s ‘Pumpless in Vienna’ story – to be told here soon), life saving.
For the last three years, I have been privileged to attend the European Bloggers Summit, which is a satellite event run alongside the EASD Scientific Meeting. This event is a chance to really look at ways that consumer advocates can work together and support each other to make significant change to living with diabetes.
It was sobering to be reminded several times yesterday that those of us sitting behind our laptops, participating in the dialogue of the community are already very lucky. We looked at programs out there that are providing insulin to people who would not otherwise have access. Again – life saving.
The beauty of these events is that they are not simply a day or two of navel gazing and patting ourselves on the back for the work we do. We challenge ourselves and each other to do more, do better and reach more people. We plan for what we want to achieve and then hold ourselves accountable for what we have said we want to deliver.
The issues that we have in Australia and that I frequently write about right here are so often universal. Hearing friends from Europe say that the language of diabetes is an issue, or access to technology or medicines is prohibitive for some, reminds me that it is worth continuing to be in this space. When I hear about the frustrations experienced by others when it comes to consumer representation, I know that every time I say ‘nothing about me without me’ it is echoed around the world.
There are some amazing things going on, and over the coming weeks I’m going to write about some of the things I learnt about because I not only want to share this work, I also want to encourage others to get involved.
The 2015 European Bloggers Summit was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. I was invited by Johnson & Johnson to attend the event and did not receive any funds from Johnson & Johnson to cover travel or accommodation costs to Vienna or to attend the EASD conference. These costs were covered by my employer, Diabetes Australia – Vic.