As a Type One Diabetic myself I sometimes forget that November is one of the most important months in a Diabetics life. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and for the majority of the world, it is forgotten in the mix of Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, Veterans Awareness Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and many other awareness months that just seem to take a "priority" over Diabetes. Not to mention that the United States finishes the month out with Thanksgiving. This month is the most important month for Diabetics as we fight for fundraising grants from people (and the government) to support us finding a cure…finally.
For me, I was diagnosed in November of 2009 and 10 years later, the month is filled with celebration of the medicine that saves my life every day. Although the bigger picture of November is that it's to celebrate everyone that has to go through this terrible disease daily. And although the misconceptions of diabetes are that we cannot eat sugar or food we want, my friends and I normally celebrate by baking a cake and eating ice cream while watching movies all night. Just to prove we really can "do what we want". There are so many misconceptions in the world of diabetes that it deserves its own article. However, as more and more people are getting educated those misconceptions seem to fade. For my senior exit project, I had to create a video trying to "Make A Change" to something, you can check that video out here.
Many people think of Diabetes as a disease you "give to yourself", however that is the complete opposite of what Type One Diabetes is. The dictionary definition of Type One Diabetes is, "when your pancreas isn't making insulin or is making very little" as defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Diabetes affects over 30 million people in the United States! However, only 1.25 million of that 30 million is Type One Diabetics, this is because T1D is considered an autoimmune disease. Even though the percentage of Type One Diabetics is "low" compared to so many other diseases there needs to be recognition, and this is how I am going to make a change.
Now I know many of you clicked on this article due to the title of me telling you not to stuff your faces, but instead give thanks through this holiday season. I also know that I just told you that we can "do what we want", but let me explain the difference. For 90% of diabetics, we are given a range of blood sugars we are supposed to be in for 100% of the time. Let me tell you that this is close to impossible to stay in with the processed food and sugar society has created to be "normal". Sugar raises your blood sugar (no matter who you are) along with stress, happiness, exercise and pretty much every other day-to-day thing. So when I say give thanks, I mean give thanks to being able to stuff your face without a thought about what is actually going into your body, and remember that not everyone has the luxury you do.
Lastly, then I will leave you to go stuff your faces with your favorite holiday cookies and food, please consider this the next time you are donating to a cancer research foundation. 2.5 billion dollars has been invested to find a cure to Type One Diabetes since 1998, whereas just in 2019 the government has "provided NCI a base appropriation of $5.74 billion, which represents a $79 million increase from FY 2018, and an additional $400 million for the Cancer Moonshot" (Sharpless). Not to mention the fact that for each new case the research funders receive money. As said in a New York Times article, breast cancer receives $2,596 per new case and prostate cancer receives the "lowest" amount for each new case at $1,318 (Parker-Pope). Adding all of that money up cancer gets funded quite a bit. Now diabetes? Nothing. Beyond that 2.5 billion Type One Diabetes research is left up to donations and others raising money to find a cure. There are many places looking for a cure, however some of the closest ones to actually find one are ADA (American Diabetes Association) and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). Both of them work very hard to raise funds and could use all of the help they can get. So the next time you think about donating that $5 to the Cancer foundation at the grocery store please take a second to think about the Diabetics praying and dreaming for a cure and the money to find one.
Donate to American Diabetes Association: here
Donate to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: here