My presentation to the health psychology class went really well Thursday morning. Thanks you all for your advice. We had them both laughing and crying – which is a success in my book.
I started by asking them what they already knew about diabetes. They got some of the major details right, and then I showed them Joanne’s video – poison… and cookies made with poison.
I talked a little about the biology behind diabetes, but didn’t spend too much time on it because of the topic of the class.
We also talked briefly about the “numbers” behind diabetes – gender, age, ethnicity comparisons and the direct and indirect costs related to diabetes.
All of that was basically the introduction to sharing with them about the daily life and challenges of diabetes.
I tried to give them a perspective of the routine of each day mixed in with the fact that even with all the routine, nothing is ever the same. I used the example of eating in the cafeteria and 1) not knowing what you are going to eat 20 minutes before the meal (when you should ideally take your insulin) and/or 2) filling your plate and dosing for it, only to find out that the food doesn’t taste as good as it looks.
I was very thankful to have been asked to share about advocacy. I began by explain about IDF and the Life for a Child campaign. The idea of “accidents of geography” affecting whether or not someone lives or dies with diabetes is a tragedy we have a duty to change.
And then I ended with the “meta” topic of social media advocacy. Sure, I could try to explain by myself what it feels like to live for decades without the online community or the worries of families with children with diabetes, but it was much more powerful for them to hear it from all of you.
I let Kim and the others explain the You Can Do This Project. Then, of course, I showed them the Simonpalooza version. As the number of years with diabetes grew, so did the raised eyebrows and the whispers of “wow.” They were also try moved by the openness with which Stacey shared her life.
And then, Caleb turned the whole room to mush. If I was nervous about the fact that the students wouldn’t understand the mental health struggles of living with diabetes, watching Caleb be so open and honest with his thoughts was probably the most powerful image the students saw during the hour. Thank you Lorraine and Caleb!!
I wanted to end by helping them understand what they could to do help. Well, first I think I will see about 25 students wearing blue each Friday. After watching Life for a Child at the beginning of the presentation, I showed them last year’s Big Blue Test video and told them about how it made a difference for the children they had seen. We previewed the trailer for this year’s project.
As I was walking out of the classroom at the end of my presentation, the professor shared with me that the psychology club at the university was looking for a new project/awareness campaign to work on for November. Guess what I will be helping them with?