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Step right this way for some diabetes snapshots, information, and inspiration.


Insulin for Life Australia is in urgent need of Lantus insulin. If you have any no longer needed Lantus (or any other insulin, but Lantus is the priority right now), please consider sending it to Insulin for Life, Australia. More information available here. (If you are not in Australia, please use the same link and request information about where you may be able to send your donated insulin.)

Women’s work

International Women’s Day may have been a couple of weeks ago, but I loved this piece from the Diabetes Mine team paying tribute to women in diabetes.

Researching DIYPS

While we’re talking women in diabetes, this wonderful profile of Dana Lewis showcases not only her trailblazing work in DIYPS, but also how she has moved into researching the technology.

Diabetes devices overview

KQED Science ran this great overview of diabetes devices, including a well-balanced summary of current sensor-based glucose monitors. The piece features another legendary woman in diabetes, Melissa Lee.

Diabetes UK Conference wrap up

Last week, Diabetes UK held their diabetes professional conference in London. They extended the conference by as day to host the Diabetes UK Insider event for people with diabetes which provided a summary of some of the sessions from earlier in the week. (You can catch up on twitter by checking out #DUKPC and #DUKPCInsider tags.)

There was some stellar tweeting from both events from a few twitter stars and the blog posts are trickling through now.

You can read this one from Ros at Type 1 Adventures.

And Ascensia smartly engaged Grumpy Pumper once again to write updates for them, and you can find them here.

Four years

Kim Hislop is a pretty cool woman and recently she wrote a beautiful piece about the last sixth months, which she says have been some of the most difficult times of her life. Four years ago, Kim received a kidney transplant from her mother-in-law and, unfortunately, in September last year, the transplanted kidney was rejected.

Read Kim’s story, including how she is feeling about starting dialysis and what she hopes for her future. She is a truly wonderful person and has been such a wonderful advocate for sharing stories about living with diabetes complications. I really hope she keeps writing.

Please, if you are not already an organ donor, please consider becoming one. Information about becoming an organ and tissue donor in Australia is available here.

Pre-pregnancy planning study

Are you a woman with either type 1 or 2 diabetes aged between 18 and 40 years of age living in Australia? Then Helen Edwards wants to hear from you!

As part of her PhD research, Helen is developing a tool to determine how prepared women with diabetes are for pregnancy. The idea is for the tool to be used by diabetes HCPs working with women with diabetes contemplating pregnancy.

If you are interested in participating, please get in touch with Helen at

Just Talking

Last month, I sat down with Christopher Snider and had a chat for his Just Talking podcast. By ‘sit down’, I mean that I was at home in Australia and it was the weekend and I was drinking coffee because it was crazy early, and he was at home in the US and it was … well, who knows when it was – I’m not got at time zones.

We chatted about weird accents (I think we were referring to mine), the Hemsworths and Nicole Kidman, #LanguageMatters (because it does) and other diabetes stuff too.

You can listen to it here.


I’ve been given the keys to the GBDOC tweetchat bus for this week. I’m talking about including people with diabetes in … well … everything to do with diabetes. I suspect the #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs hashtag might get a bit of a run alongside the #GBDOC tag. Please join me at (UK time) Wednesday at 9pm (which is Thursday at 8am AEDT, because we are the future).

Aims for the chat: don’t use too much Australian slang; limit swearing. I should be right about not using slang…

Spare a Rose wrap up

In case you missed it, the final tally for this year’s Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign is in!

Thanks to everyone who donated and shared information about the campaign.


The three most important women in my life are forces of nature: My mother, president of union, has instilled in me a desire to do work that helps others. My sister, the fiercest, feistiest, smartest person I know, who constantly challenges me to think outside my comfort zone. And my daughter – my amazing, miracle kid, (and kids like her) – is why I feel that the world is actually going to be okay.

The supporting cast of close family – mother-in-law who just happens to be an Australian aviation pioneer, my sister-in-law, aunts, cousins – and friends means that I am constantly surrounded by brilliant women doing brilliant things. I am astounded, daily, at the challenges they overcome, their triumphs, the lives they change, the impact they are making.

And in my diabetes life it is women – the incredible women – who keep me going and keep me motivated. My diabetes healthcare team is made up exclusively of women who truly breathe the whole person-centred care belief system, building me up and then supporting me as I do the best I can with diabetes. The women I have worked with, and continue to work with, in diabetes organisations who champion those who would otherwise be forgotten have become friends, mentors and daily cheerleaders.

It is people like Cherise Shockley, founder of DSMA; Dana Lewis, creator of Open APS; Susan Alberti, philanthropist; Jane Speight, diabetes language forerunner; Taryn Black, Diabetes Australia policy director and champion for having the voice of PWD heard; Riva Greenburg, journalist, changing the way we see people living with diabetes; Annie Astle, advocate and speaker, and the person I am most grateful to have come to know because of diabetes; Monique Hanley, cycling legend; Christel Marchand Aprigliano, advocate leader; Cheryl Steele, CDE extraordinaire and leader in diabetes technology education; Kerri Sparling, author, blogger and incredible advocate; Anna Norton, Sarah Mart and Karen Graffeo, the women behind Diabetes Sisters; Melissa Lee, incredible communicator, singer, former leader of DHF and now at Bigfoot Biomedical; Kelly Close, founder of diaTribe and Close Concerns; Georgie Peters, speaker, blogger, diabetes and eating disorders advocate…

And you know what? I haven’t even scratched the surface. The diabetes world is shaped by women, built by women, sustained by women. Advocacy efforts are often the brainchild and then led through the blood sweat and tears of women. And how lucky the world is!


I celebrate these women today and every day!

More writing about women and diabetes, and women’s health.

Hear Me Roar

This is what Diabetes Privilege Looks Like

The F Word

One Foot in Front of the Other

My Fantastic Frankie

A New Diabetes Superhero

The Sex Talk

Pink Elephants

The D Girls

Healthy Babies



I wrote the post below back in 2016 (original version here). The Lancet had just published a piece about the differences in insulin access around the globe and I was once again astounded and pained by just how difficult it is for some people. 

I wanted to share it again because with the #SpareARose campaign finishing tomorrow, I thought that a reminder of just how dire the situation is for people born with diabetes in some countries was timely – especially for those of you who have been meaning to make a donation to Life for a Child, but just haven’t managed to yet. 

Can you imagine if it was you or your child diagnosed, and that instead of heading to hospital for treatment, and then home again equipped with all the drugs and supplies you needed to manage diabetes, you had been handed nothing but a death sentence? To be honest, I can’t imagine that, because my situation – as with most people reading this blog – was not that. 

Please take a moment to make a donation. It takes USD$5 to provide insulin to a child for a month. (And I promise, this is the last time I’ll be writing about this. At least, for now!)


The life expectancy for a child diagnosed with diabetes in sub-Sahara Africa is as low as one year. That’s right: one year.

This is a fact for 2018, almost 97 years after the discovery of insulin.

And it is just not good enough.

In The Lancet, this piece was published about the challenges of accessing insulin around the globe. Why is this drug still so unattainable to so many? Why has access to insulin not had a high priority within agencies such as the UN and WHO?

Why are children and adults still dying when there is a medication available?

I am so angry and sad and desperate that this is the situation and while I am pleased that we are starting to increase the conversation about the unfairness of it, it’s just not enough.

Where is the outrage here? We get angry and feel vilified when someone doesn’t understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or because some celebrity dared to say something stupid about diabetes, and we retreat online and complain and bitch and moan. We say that we feel stigmatised and isolated and misunderstood.

And it’s true. Diabetes is stigmatising and isolating. People don’t understand the details. It’s downright, bloody unfair.

But we are not going to die because we can’t get our hands on a bottle of insulin. Perhaps we need to channel some of our oh-so-easy-to-access outrage and frustration towards an issue that can actually save some lives.

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in some countries is a death sentence, plain and simple. And a quick one at that.

And this isn’t okay.

Click image to donate

Have you been thinking about making a donation to Spare a Rose; Save a Child, but just haven’t managed to do it yet? Did you think that because Valentine’s Day is over that it’s too late? Watch this and find out why your donation is still greatly needed.

Donate now to have your donation added to the 2018 Spare a Rose tally. Just click on the image below.

Here I am speaking too fast, hands waving erratically (#TooMuchCoffee), with an idea about how we can get Spare a Rose, Save a Child better known outside the diabetes community…


Click image to donate






It’s that time again. Supermarkets are covered in red heart-shaped foil balloons, fluffy heart-shaped pillows and velvet heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Florists are about to hike up the price of roses by three or four hundred percent. And the sex shop in my neighbourhood has an odd display of edible underwear in the front window, surely begging the question: who the hell actually thinks that is a good idea as a gift for any occasion? Anyway, I digress..

It must be Valentine’s Day.

We don’t do Valentine’s Day in our place. It is a Hallmark occasion if ever there was one and quite frankly, the idea of being loving and affectionate and amorous one day a year is ridiculous and would leave me feeling very short-changed.

But despite my complete and utter aversion to organised romance, I have, for the last few years, thrown my weight behind Spare a Rose, Save a Child. And today, with two weeks until Valentine’s Day, it’s time for me to start talking about it again…A reminder of how the whole Spare a Rose thing works:

Instead of giving your Valentine twelve (overpriced) roses, give them 11, saving yourself about AUD$6. Donate that six bucks you’ve saved to Spare a Rose.

All funds raised by Spare a Rose go directly to the Life for a Child program which provides insulin and diabetes supplies for kids in need and your six dollar donation is enough to provide a month’s worth of insulin to a kid who might otherwise not have any.

It’s pretty easy and you don’t need to be good at maths to work out how much to donate to actually make a difference.

Of course you can give more – you can forgo the flower thing altogether, donating the cost of the whole dozen (meaning you’ve just provided a full year’s worth of insulin for a child). Aaron knows my favourite sort of vase on Valentine’s Day is an empty one, with the cost of the whole bunch going to Spare a Rose.

You know, here in Australia it the most it will cost to buy insulin is $39.50. If you have a healthcare card it’s $6.40. We really are so fortunate that the vast majority of Aussies don’t have to worry about insulin prices increasing at terrifying rates or insulin not actually getting into the country. I don’t for a moment think our healthcare system is perfect.

But it is a far cry from places where children and adults are dying because they cannot access insulin. That is the reality for a lot of people, and we can do something about it.

Six dollars. That’s all it takes. And it is as easy as clicking here. Please donate.


Spare a Rose Save a Child is an initiative of a few well known advocates from the DOC in the US. In the last couple of years, they’ve invited me and advocates from the UK to be involve in the campaign. (Obviously, I receive no funding to work on this, and am doing it because I believe in it.)

How’s your Christmas shopping going? Have you managed to get it all done and wrapped everything up in beautiful vintage newspaper with contrasting artisanal twine? Have you hand-addressed all the gifts on mistletoe leaves, and had Christmas elves bless the bounty? Have you stuffed everyone’s stockings with scented candles, socks and undies, and photo frames?

Yeah, me neither!

Starting to panic? About to head to a frantically busy shopping centre with a million other disorganised and stressed shoppers? Or have you already popped into a local chemist to clear them out of their toiletries packs?

Well, put down the bath bomb! I can help. And the best bit – you can do it all from your kitchen table, while lounging on the sofa, or sipping an iced latte at your local café, which is what I am doing as I am writing this little post.

Children and adults are dying because they can’t access insulin. I don’t mean to rain down on your Christmas parade or tangle your tinsel, but this is the cold harsh truth. It is happening every single day. I know I don’t have to remind most people who read this blog that insulin is not a new or experimental treatment. You all know that it’s been around for close to 100 years.

Insulin should be easy to come by for every single person in the world who needs it to treat their diabetes, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

I don’t know about you, but this fact makes me angry and despair.  The idea that people are dying because they cannot access the very drug that I can easily pick up at any chemist in my neighbourhood actually hurts my brain.

But what if you could make a difference and actually get insulin to those in need AND skip department store queues as you line up to pay for some gift that will probably end up being re-gifted in next year’s office Secret Santa? (Don’t look at me like that – we’ve all done it!)

Well, you can, and it’s as simple as making a donation to a charity that is helping to get insulin into the hands – and bodies – of those who need it most. You can make gifts in the name of any or all of your friends and family, and I bet that they will understand why you have forsaken the novelty cup you usually buy them to do this instead.

When anyone asks me what I want for Christmas – and even if they don’t ask – I say ‘Please make a donation to either Insulin for Life or Life for a Child’.

My parents are doing that for me this year, and truly, it is the best present they could give me – I couldn’t be more pleased.

Click image to donate to Insulin for Life


Click image to donate to Life for a Child.

No one loses here. You avoid screaming kids and whimpering adults at shopping centres, no one gets a pointless gift they have to pretend to have always wanted. And someone is given the gift of insulin, or rather, the gift of life.

Now that’s the spirit of Christmas!

Towards the end of last week, I got a little rant-y at all the ads from Australian-based and owned companies filling up my social feeds, and my inbox, inviting me to shop up big in the Black Friday sales.

My understanding of Black Friday sales is that they happen the day after Thanksgiving. We don’t have Thanksgiving in Australia. And therefore, we don’t have Black Friday. I actually had to do a bit or reading up to find out the history of the whole Black Friday sale thing, because I’ve always associated the term (as do many Aussies) with bushfires from back in 1939 – not a fire sale of bed linen or mascara.

After Friday was done, it wasn’t over! By Saturday, suddenly, Black Friday ads morphed into Cyber Monday ads. And details of more sales flooded every online channel. Cue more ranting from me (who probably should get a hobby and stop complaining about crap).

Today, with all the consumerism over, it appears that it’s time for another catchy day: Giving Tuesday. But this time, I’m all over it and happy to get involved and will be making a couple of donations to charities supporting people who are unable to access basic diabetes supplies.

Diabetes is just such an un-level playing field. Some of us are in Facebook groups trying to work out how to source equipment for our DIY APS builds, while for others, sourcing insulin is impossible.

This quote from former IDF President, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya provides some much needed perspective, reminding us just how different life with diabetes can be around the world.

If you can, please consider making a donation to a diabetes charity. You can choose to go local, and support a charity that provides services to you and people in your area. Or you can look to charities supporting people with diabetes in less well-resourced countries.

Maybe you could get together with some friends or family or work colleagues and donate to the Life for a Child 1,000 Donors Campaign. Already, 113 generous people have pledged to give $1 a day to help provide insulin to children in need.

Alternatively, you can always donate to the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign (also supporting Life for a Child) where just AUD$6 per month is all it takes to provide a child with insulin.

Insulin for Life saves perfectly good insulin from landfill and transports it to people in countries where insulin is difficult to access. Learn more about Insulin for Life by watching this short YouTube clip and then donate here.

Giving Tuesday, while really only a US thing, is something I am more than happy to embrace. As we throw ourselves headfirst into the silly season, I think it’s really important to remember those who can do with some help. And with Xmas spending about to hit frenzy levels, stopping and thinking about how you and your family and family can help those in need. (Read here for a slightly Grinch-esque idea, but one that I still stand by 100 per cent!)

In Australia, WDD lasts for about 36 hours. From the first ‘Happy World Diabetes Day!’ to the final SoMe post with the #WDD hashtag, it was a day-and-a-half of diabetes activism and advocacy and awareness raising. Thank the gods it’s over!

Here a collection of things I’ve found interesting and wanted to share from this week…and most of them are by or about real life Diabetes SuperSHEroes!

One dollar a day

On World Diabetes Day, Life for a Child launched their new 1,000 Donor Campaign. An ongoing donation of USD$1 per day will ensure a child with diabetes has access to life-saving insulin. 1,000 donors will help 1,000 young people in need.

Read more about the campaign, and learn how to donate, here.


My wardrobe at the moment seems to be predominantly made up of diabetes t-shirts. Most of them have a very clear Loop theme…I wonder why! (Here is where to get to find these designs.)

And then, this week, I received this in the post from Casualty Girl and it is definitely going to be on high rotation this summer:

Also, from Casualty Girl, a new pouch to house my glucose meter (to go along with my diabetes spares bag):

Casualty Girl is the brainchild of talented designer Monica Vesci, a complete and utter star in diabetes sartorial excellence! Have a look at her e-shop for these products and lots more here.

 Diabetes and feminism

My post on Monday about privilege and diabetes generated a lot of discussion. I wish I could say that was the end of the chatter and cries of ‘What about me?’ because of the women and diabetes theme, but, alas, it was not.

Georgie Peters, who I adore and admire, wrote a great piece on her blog about the issue too. Read it here.

Something fun

Sure, it’s just a bit of fun, but lots of people have had a giggle as they worked out their name using the Diabetes Australia SuperHEro Name Generator.

Mine is Phantom Islet Injector. Which, when you think about it, is actually kinda true!

Carolyn’s Robot Relative

Another amazing woman, Dana Lewis, has added yet more strings to her bow, and is now a published children’s book author. I received my copy of ‘Carolyn’s Robot Relative’ on Monday.

It’s a great way to explain diabetes devices (and other health gadgets) to kids.

You can get your own copy on Amazon here, and because Dana is wonderful, she she will using any profits from the sales of the book to cover the cost of copies she will donate to schools and hospitals. She really is one of the best people in the diabetes community!

How to NOT be ‘patient-centric’

PHARMAC, the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceutical and medical devices to publicly fund in NZ, announced this week a new sole arrangement to limit glucose monitoring to meters and strips from Pharmaco (NZ), distributors of Caresens products.

This means that people with diabetes in NZ able to access subsidised meters and strips will have access to only four meters.

Not a great result for people with diabetes who want choice in their diabetes devices, is it? More here.

Insulin affordability in the US

Laura Marston has been a long-time advocate for affordable insulin for people living with diabetes in the USA.

She wrote this piece for the BMJ Blog about her own story of managing insulin affordability, explaining that since her diagnosis in 1996, the list price of a vial of Humalong has risen by over 1200 per cent (that’s not a typo).

Read Laura’s piece to get a good understanding of the situation in the US, and just how messed up – and tough – it is for people with diabetes just trying to afford the drug they need to stay alive.

Asha’s diabulimia story

Asha Brown founded, and is now the Executive Director of, We Are Diabetes, an organisation supporting, and providing information and education for people living with diabetes and diabetes-related eating disorders.

She has written this important piece about living with diabulimia that is a must-read for anyone and everyone affected by diabetes.

What’s next?

There’s no rest for the wicked! The end of WDD does not signal the finish of diabetes activities for the year. In just over two weeks’ time, the IDF’s World Diabetes Congress kicks off and it’s the only large-scale diabetes congress to have a whole stream dedicated to living with diabetes. Lots of diabetes advocates from all over the world will be there. You can start to look through the program here.

Of course I made Blue Circle cookies for WDD. 

I used this recipe, (thanks Nigella), and put to use the cookie cutter I bought for this very purpose back in February!

Each year for World Diabetes Day (WDD), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) selects a theme and develops a suite of information resources. Member Associations of the IDF are encouraged to take on the theme, adapting the message to their country. In previous years, themes have included eye health and diabetes, access to healthy food, and diabetes education and prevention.

This year, the focus is women living with and affected by diabetes. And apparently, some people are not happy.

There are murmurings on a number of SoMe pages that the theme is discriminatory. Men have diabetes, too! And men care for people with diabetes! Why the focus on women? It’s not all about women, you know!

I’ve had a look through all the IDF materials and other WDD materials from other organisations and nowhere has it said anything about men not having diabetes, or not being involved in diabetes care. That’s not the point of the campaign at all, and if that is all anyone is seeing, they are missing the point.

Why the focus on women? Because health outcomes for women – including women with diabetes – are worse than for men. Women Deliver, a leading global advocate for the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women, has some outstanding resources that show just how significant these differences are. Some information from the IDF materials:

  • As a result of socioeconomic conditions, girls and women with diabetes experience barriers in accessing cost-effective diabetes prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care, particularly in developing countries.
  • Socioeconomic inequalities expose women to the main risk factors of diabetes, including poor diet and nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco consumption and harmful use of alcohol.
  • Stigmatisation and discrimination faced by people with diabetes are particularly pronounced for girls and women, who carry a double burden of discrimination because of their health status and the inequalities perpetrated in male dominated societies.
  • These inequalities can discourage girls and women from seeking diagnosis and treatment, preventing them from achieving positive health outcomes.

And these points don’t even mention women’s health issues such as diabetes and pregnancy, or reproductive and sexual health.

The campaign is not suggesting that men do not experience struggles when it comes to living with diabetes themselves, or are not involved and integral in the care of others living with diabetes.

But it’s not just the exclusion of men in this year’s campaign that seems to be a problem for some. I’ve seen a number of people complain because they feel the IDF materials are not talking about the great things women with diabetes can do. We can work! We can travel! We can have healthy babies! We can jump out of aeroplanes! We can be successful career women! We can run marathons! We can start businesses!

Of course we bloody can. And, again, nowhere in the campaign collateral is there any suggestion that women are not capable of doing these things. And if you are one of the women who is able to achieve all of those things, despite your diabetes, that is fantastic! But it is the very definition of privilege to think that just because your life is one way, then it must be the same for everyone else – or that if something is not a problem for you then it mustn’t be a problem for anyone else.

Those of us in a position of privilege can use WDD to draw attention to those in need. We can encourage others to donate and to lobby. We can highlight the inequality and inequity of health outcomes for different groups of people. This year, it’s about women.

And you known what? I can’t wait until diabetes health outcomes are the same for everyone, regardless of gender. Because then we won’t need to have a women as a theme.

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