I consider myself to be a fairly well informed Diabetic. I try to stay abreast of all things
Diabetes. I want to know how others are
treating their Diabetes and living with it every day; I want to know if there
are new advances to get excited about – unfortunately most of those advances
are in the equipment that we use, such as glucose meters or insulin pumps; and
I want to know anything and everything else I can learn about Diabetes,
meaning, I want to be a sponge and soak it all up.
But in the interest of full disclosure, this Diabetic, living with the
disease now for nearly 28 years, I have to admit I was unaware of World
Diabetes Day, let alone that November 14th is set aside to play host
to this day. For a long time, I have
been acutely aware that November is National Diabetes Month in the United
States, but for one reason or another, World Diabetes Day escaped me. So, as I am just learning about it, I think
it is a good exercise for all of us to become more aware of this day and what
it means, if you don’t mind me indulging a bit.
According to the International Diabetes Federation website, “World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated
every year on November 14. The World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International
Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations. It engages millions of
people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness. World Diabetes Day was
created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health
Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat
that diabetes now poses. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations
Day in 2007 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. The campaign
draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and
keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight. This year sees the second of a
five-year campaign that will address the growing need for diabetes education
and prevention programmes.”
So why November 14th
specifically, you ask (as I did). Well
it is for a very good reason, in fact.
As it turns out, November 14th marks what would have been the
birthday of Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best were the discoverers
of insulin in 1922.
The slogan at the top of the
International Diabetes Federation website is: “Act On Diabetes. Now.”
This is a very important statement.
It applies to all of us, Diabetics and Non-Diabetics. It is a call to action for Diabetics to
realize what type of control they are in with the disease and improve that
control, even if your own Diabetes management is going well, because,
unfortunately, Diabetes is a Merry-Go-Round that we cannot get off. And for Non-Diabetics, this is an opportunity
to become more informed and more educated about Diabetes – about risk factors,
about complications, and how to support family and friends living with
For me, today is a day to honor
and pay respect to those that I know and don’t know who wake up every morning
and go to bed every night hoping and praying for a day when there is a cure for
Diabetes. It is also a day for me to
honor and respect those that have had the opportunity of a pancreas transplant
and are living without the thought of needing to take shots or take a bolus in
their pump to cover a meal with insulin.
And today is a day to honor and memorize those who lived everyday with
Diabetes and are no longer here with us.
Today, I honor, respect, and in
some cases, memorialize:
Linda Burke – My sister, who passed away, at the age of 24 in
1989, due to complications from Diabetes.
A part of Linda is with me every day helping me with my Diabetes. She was and still is, a great teacher.
Norman Burris – The father of a very good friend, who lived
with Diabetes for many years, before passing away. He was a great source of inspiration for his
family and friends, especially to his daughter.
Elizabeth Fallows – A high school classmate of mine who
passed away several years ago, who was a Diabetic from a very young age.
Eric Harrington – A neighbor when I was growing up, who
lives with Diabetes today.
Cora Rodych – A Diabetic living in Canada who has received a
kidney and pancreas transplant, and has been doing well with her Diabetes since
receiving her new pancreas.
Christine Burke – My wife, living with Type 2 Diabetes
since November 1998.
Reyna Almond – A very good friend, living with, and succeeding
at managing her Diabetes well.
All the Patients at Joslin Diabetes Center
in Boston, and all of the patients at similar clinics across the country and
across the world – We
are all in this together !
And I would be remiss, if I did
not thank all of the many doctors and nurses, as well as our family members,
who have helped us all learn to deal with and help manage our Diabetes…Thank