‘You’ll be pleased to know that I represented people with diabetes very well in the meeting that I attended yesterday.’
The meeting was all about people with diabetes; making decisions about people with diabetes; looking at processes and practices for people with diabetes; discussing how people with diabetes access healthcare.
And in the room? Not a single person with diabetes.
I looked at the healthcare professional who told me that she had so well represented ‘my people’ and shook my head.
‘And yet,’ I said. ‘You are not a person with diabetes. Can you imagine how much more powerful it would have been to actually have people affected by the things being discussed in the room?’
I was reminded of this conversation, which took place a few months ago, this morning when I saw this from the folks at T1 International. (I’ve written about them before, but please check them out. Their work is so important.)
T1 International is working towards adequate access to insulin and diabetes supplies, as well as healthcare for all people across the world living with type 1 diabetes. They are giving a voice to communities that are most often not heard by sharing their experiences and amplifying their stories.
But I wonder, what hope can there be for people in countries where diabetes is so tough if in places like Australia, where we have heavily subsidised medication and supplies (I know, I know – CGM is not subsidised), we are still not being given the microphone?
I never doubt the amazing advocacy initiatives that many healthcare professionals undertake for people with diabetes. It is important and necessary and I am so grateful for it.
However, there is an authenticity that can only be delivered by those walking the miles in our (diabetes-appropriate – pfft!) shoes; not those walking alongside us.
Bringing home the point again was this cartoon that has appeared frequently on my SoMe feeds this week.
Let us in the room. Don’t speak for us. We have voices. Hand us a microphone so we can be heard.