I HAVE A theory about how diabetes changes us. And I’m not
talking blood glucose levels or weight.
I’m talking character and community. Diabetes makes us
stronger. And together, we’re a loud, powerful force.
At ;rst, diabetes is a personal problem, a family issue. Some
of us are diagnosed without knowing another person living
with diabetes. Many of us see few positive examples of taking
care of the condition. Some of us, feeling the blame that
society bestows on any type of chronic
disease—and fearing discrimination—
keep it to ourselves.
Those early days with diabetes have
a demanding learning curve. I’ve
watched my brother’s family make that
journey with the type; 1 diagnosis of my
nephew. The low-that-wouldn’t-quit after
one of Zach’s ball games? It required
immediate attention; there was no time
for the bigger picture, at that moment.
Eventually, many of us reach the point
of “Diabetes isn’t easy, but I can do this.”
That’s the message of hope—the stories of inspiration and courage
in these pages. My wish is that each of us embraces the belief that
we can thrive and takes action to do so.
But even in the face of our accomplishments, diabetes takes
an unacceptable toll on humanity. The complications, the costs,
the emotional drain. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir.
And that’s why you are so very important. You help us strike a
blow to diabetes every time you work on advocacy efforts, whether
writing to legislators or ;ghting for fair treatment at school, on
the job, or even in an airport. Here are two examples in this issue:
raising awareness of the needs of high-risk populations (p. 69)
and ;ghting a case to protect our children in school (p. 44).
We have a special title for American Diabetes Association
members who serve in this way: Diabetes Advocates. It takes just a
moment to become one (right). We’ll send you action alerts about
writing to your legislators, volunteering locally, making some noise.
Yes, diabetes takes way too much of your time. A big thank-you
for giving just a little more, raising your voice to help us all.
Kelly Rawlings, PWD* type 1
*Person with diabetes
The Supreme Court ruling on the
A;ordable Care Act missed our
printing deadline. Read more at
If you are being discriminated against because
of your diabetes at school, work, or elsewhere,
contact the American Diabetes Association
for assistance and a form to request help
from a legal advocate. 1-800-DIABE TES
Want to Help?
• Diabetes Advocates
All it takes to support ADA advocacy
e;orts is a passion for making a di;erence
and your own story. We’ll send you action
alerts—you decide how much time you
can spare for the cause. To sign up, go to
• Health Care Professionals
Your expertise can help us train school
personnel, create education materials,
and provide expert testimony to
resolve issues and ;ght discrimination.
To join the ADA Health Care Professional
Legal Advocacy Network, go to
As a member of the ADA Advocacy
Attorney Network, you can help develop
policies and materials to prevent
discrimination, represent people facing
discrimination, and work to change unfair
laws. We need lawyers everywhere, but these
states are in particular need of more attorney
advocates: Alabama, Arkansas, California,
Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska,
and South Carolina. To join, go to
forecast.diabetes.org AUGUST 2012 9