What's to be happy about a chronic disease you may ask? As difficult as diabetes is, we have a lot to be happy about on this day that brings the world together to raise awareness in fighting this beast of a disease.
Every year on November 14th, the world marks this day with events, campaigns, activities and other things to help those with diabetes and raise awareness about its diagnosis, treatment and management.
This all started in the early 1990s by the World Health Organization and International Diabetes Foundation. The day got the extra nudge when the United Nations adopted it as an official day of observance.
Why the 14th? This is the day that Dr. Frederick Banting was born. Dr. Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921. This forever changed the lives of many people living at that time, and continues to impact those who are diagnosed with Type1 and insulin dependent in Type 2. That in itself is a celebration of life - many lives that would not be here without their discovery.
So how am I marking this day? I am celebrating the entire month with a social media campaign that focuses on a diabetic fact a day. I am also visiting several hospitals and clinics to share my mission while participating in diabetic events in the UAE. It has also been an honor to be invited to speak to companies, universities and other organizations about diabetes this month.
While I am pretty busy, I still find this very small in the grand scheme of things. There is much to be done to support the estimated 415million diabetics in the world. This number continues to grow. And at the rate it is growing, it will likely have an impact on all of us, if it has not touched your family and friends already. We all can do something.
As I told the employees at Eli Lilly yesterday where I shared our story, everything counts - no matter how small. If you are part of an organization that is making life saving supplies - in their case insulin - your contribution in your job is important. As they were about to go on about their work day focussing on various projects and initiatives, I closed by asking them to consider the drop of insulin in the image below. This tiny drop of insulin has such a huge impact for so many. Yes, something that small makes a huge difference.
Of course every diabetic wants nothing more than a cure. But thankfully, we have insulin until that time. Without it, my son and so many others would not be here. It is huge. These small tiny drops keep him alive. It looks small, but its impact is so big.
So what can you do? A lot. Even sharing any of the factual internet memes that you see about the signs of diabetes could save a life.
If you are diabetic or a caretaker of one, and have ever thought about sharing your story, I encourage you to share it. It will definitely have an impact and help someone! If you don't have an outlet to share it, I welcome you to write a guest blog here!
Another great way to get involved is to participate in your local diabetes activities. Not only should it highlight the facts about diabetes, but it is a great way to raise awareness and get active in the process.
In the region, there were some great events held last weekend that you probably attended such as those in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon and Turkey. If you could not attend these, bookmark their sites and reach out to them for more information about future activities. In Saudi, reach out to the Saudi Diabetes & Endocrine Association to learn about upcoming events.
If you are in Dubai and Kuwait, there are events coming up this weekend:
- Dubai Beat Diabetes Walk, Zabeel Park. November 18th
- Kuwait's Dasman Diabetes Institute is having an event on November 17th