November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to shine the spotlight on diabetes and diabetes research. Ready to get involved? Here are some noteworthy events happening across the country along with suggestions for creative ways you and your family can raise awareness about diabetes in your community.
Observe JDRF’s T1Day
What better way to kick off the month? The JDRF-sponsored T1Day, held each year on November 1, is an opportunity to get people everywhere more engaged in talking about type 1 diabetes. Suggested T1Day activities include visiting your child’s class for a kid-friendly diabetes Q&A, encouraging your child to write to the local paper about type 1 awareness, and sharing some of your story via social media. Even something as simple as a tweet describing how diabetes has affected your family’s life can be a rich conversation starter. Tag social media posts with #T1Day to connect with others in the diabetes community.
Cheer on NASCAR® Driver Ryan Reed
Ryan Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17, just as his racing career was taking off. At diagnosis, he was told he’d never race again. Now, at age 23, Ryan is driving for Roush Fenway Racing in the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Xfinity® Series. Stop by or tune in for races on November 5 (Texas Motor Speedway), November 12 (Phoenix International Speedway), and November 19 (Homestead-Miami Speedway).
“Go Blue” for World Diabetes Day
November 14 is World Diabetes Day, an annual observance marked all across the globe. The “Go Blue” campaign encourages supporters to do just that for the occasion: Dress your family in blue and go blue at home by putting a blue bulb in your porch light or lighting a blue candle. Let it shine!
Keep Your Eyes on Diabetes
The theme of World Diabetes Day 2016 is “Eyes on Diabetes.” To bring attention to the eye health issues people with diabetes can face, organize an eye screening in partnership with a local ophthalmologist or distribute eye health awareness posters to clinics in your area. Free printable posters and other resources are available for download from the International Diabetes Foundation website.
Join the #T1DLooksLikeMe Campaign
JDRF wants to show the world what life with T1D really looks like with its #T1DLooksLikeMe campaign. Use the free photo editing tool at jdrf.org/T1DLooksLikeMe to give social media profiles a special blue filter and share photos of ordinary life or special events with your child using the hashtag. All month long, join others in getting the message across that life with T1D can be happy, healthy, and fun!
Celebrate Blue Fridays
Diabetes Social Media Advocacy founder Cherise Shockley encourages you to wear blue on all four Fridays of November as part of Blue Fridays, an initiative she started to bring increased attention to Diabetes Awareness Month and to people living with diabetes. You can spread the word by enlisting the help of your child’s teacher to make one of this month’s Blue Fridays a class-wide or school-wide event.
Sign Up for the JDRF One Walk®
Participate in this fun family event to show your commitment to the large-scale movement to conquer type 1 diabetes one step at a time. Many walks are held in November, and you can find a walk near you here. Your fundraising efforts will support JDRF-funded research that can help those living with type 1 diabetes look forward to long, healthy lives.
Organize a School Walk for Diabetes
Bring Diabetes Awareness Month to your child’s school by working with teachers and administrators to organize a School Walk for Diabetes, an outreach and fundraising program run by the American Diabetes Association. Schools participating in a walk receive free educational materials and lesson plans about diabetes, tips for setting up a successful walk, and prizes!
Do a DIY Diabetes Fundraiser
Both the American Diabetes Association and JDRF offer help setting up fundraisers for families, service clubs, youth groups, and other community organizations interested in making a difference. Whether it’s a bowl-a-thon, spaghetti dinner, bake sale, or car wash, you can feel good knowing that you’re raising money for organizations on the front line of type 1 diabetes awareness and education.
Snap a Blue Circle Selfie
The blue circle is the global symbol of World Diabetes Day. To show support for diabetes awareness, the International Diabetes Federation developed a fun smartphone photo app that lets you add blue circles to your selfies and group photos. When you use the app, you have the option of sharing your selfies to the World Diabetes Day Facebook® page. Selfie snappers are encouraged to get creative!
Take the Big Blue TestTM
Leading up to World Diabetes Day, the Diabetes Hands Foundation asks people to take part in the Big Blue Test, a simple activity that reinforces the importance of exercise in managing diabetes. To take part, people with diabetes test their blood glucose levels, get active for 14 to 20 minutes, test again, and then share the results online at BigBlueTest.org. People without diabetes can participate by simply reporting their physical activity. Participation helps to trigger grants to nonprofit organizations serving people with diabetes in need. This is a great activity to take part in as a family. Set the timer and get moving!
Have World Diabetes Day Declared in Your Community
In 2007, political representatives from around the world issued a proclamation officially declaring November 14 as World Diabetes Day. In this same spirit, why not approach your mayor or local government representative to offer an official message of support for World Diabetes Day or Diabetes Awareness Month on behalf of your community? The reading of a “Diabetes Day Proclamation” in your town or city may be a big draw for local media coverage.
Bring Diabetes to Light
Throughout the month of November, famous monuments and buildings across the United States including the Empire State Building will be lit in blue to help spread diabetes awareness. Have a notable landmark in your area that could draw attention by getting a temporary blue-light makeover? Talk to your community’s recreation or public works department about how you can get your town glowing this month.
Make It a Photo Finish
Share photos of how you’re celebrating World Diabetes Day with the Flickr® World Diabetes Day group. There are over 15,000 photos there that show how the occasion is observed around the world. Browse before the big day to get inspired!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.
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