If you are part of the Diabetes Online Community, you probably would know that 20 April was the second annual #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes Day. I wrote about the first event last year and you can read all about it here.
I am a little late writing about it, because truly – what more can I offer to the discussion? If you want to experience the power of the day, search on Twitter (or, to a lesser degree, Facebook or Instagram).
For me, there are two real benefits to #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes. For people with diabetes, it is a chance to have many of our feelings and experiences validated. We see other people communicating the same successes and frustrations; the same victories and disappointments; we see humour in what is often a sea of doom and gloom, and we feel less alone and part of a tribe.
The other benefit is how #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes has the ability to go beyond the DOC. People from outside ‘our world’ can catch incredible insight into all those aspects of diabetes they would never ever otherwise see if their only reference points were the six pm news or a tabloid story in a local newspaper. They would be able to see beyond the numbers – the statistics that are huge and incomprehensible – to the individual and the day-to-day impact.
I loved that there was such a strong focus on the issues of accessibility from people all over the globe. (Go Diabetes Kenya, by the way, for your awesome tweeting!)
It was terrific to see diabetes organisations getting into the mix and contributing to the day. Special shouts out to Diabetes UK, Diabetes Kenya (again), Diabetes Canada and American Diabetes Association for strong shows. And I was so proud to see Diabetes Australia (disclosure – I work for them, but none of the IWPKTD tweets were from me – kudos to Jenelle) and some of the local diabetes organisations including Diabetes NSW, Diabetes QLD, Diabetes WA and Diabetes TAS for getting involved and tweeting and retweeting throughout the day.
After days of these sorts of awareness days, I feel a little emotional. I have gone back and re-read some of the tweets and am struck by how similar – and how different – we feel about living with diabetes. My feelings run the gauntlet from anger and frustration through to hope and inspiration. Mostly though, I feel connected and supported.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes doesn’t end today. There is a website and a blog, and you can sign up for updates. A huge thank you to Kelly Kunik (AKA Diabetesalicious) for coming up with idea and running with it. And a huge thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts.
The world is bathed in purple today with the death of Prince. I have had this clip on repeat all day.