How can people without diabetes understand what living with diabetes is really like?
This is why I have written this blog for almost ten years – to connect and share with my peers, but also to educate those who don’t exist in the diabetes bubble. The DOC shares so much about their personal lives with diabetes in efforts to find community, empathy, and that whole, “Me, too!!” vibe. But even within the diabetes community itself, there are levels of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and mistaken messaging, often creating a divide where there should be a bridge.
By increasing understanding and empathy, we can work together to raise the visibility of real life with the ‘betes. And the aim of the Walk with D campaign is to help peel back the layers of misunderstanding in efforts to build those bridges between the community itself and society.
Participation is simple: Share your story. Using social media as your megaphone (like so many of us already do), show what your diabetes life is really like through blog posts, photos, tweets, status updates, and videos, and tag your stories with the #WalkWithD hashtag. (Were you thinking about starting a Twitter account? Today would be good – you’ll have three days to practice before #dsma!)
Gone are the days of stock photography representing diabetes (besides, it always pissed me off to see the stock photography lady who had diabetes one week and who also came back as a search for “office meeting frustration” – show me REAL PEOPLE with ACTUAL DIABETES, not the same reused stock photography model) – social media gives us the opportunity to replace the stock photos with real faces, real stories, and real life with diabetes.
To see the patchwork quilt of stories assemble real-time, check out the Tagboard in place at WalkWithD.com.
Together, we can create a collage that shows people both in and outside of the diabetes community the reality of life with diabetes. This is what we do when we write blogs about our experiences, when we create videos, when we Tweet, and when we take on documenting a #dayofdiabetes. This campaign is help us better understand one another, and to reach outside of the diabetes bubble and drop some diabetes slice-of-life on society as a whole.
Every voice matters. I hope this campaign helps bring more voices to the community because I love learning from the DOC. Are you caring for a child with diabetes? Living with type 2 diabetes? Newly diagnosed with diabetes? Living with type 1 diabetes? Gestational diabetes? In a relationship with someone touched by diabetes? There are so many different walks with D. Connect with others touched by diabetes to understand their journey and to let them know that they don’t walk alone.
This advocacy campaign was developed by the Partnering for Diabetes Change group and runs from today through the end of Diabetes Month (9-15 through 11/30). The goal is simply to raise awareness for, and highlight the dignity of, life with diabetes. Walk with me, walk with D.