The next big thing in diabetes advocacy

living with diabetesSomething big in diabetes advocacy is happening today in Las Vegas.

And New York City.

And Los Angeles.

And Minneapolis.

And Des Moines.

And Austin.

And everyone other town across the United States and around the world.

What is it?

Someone is living life with diabetes.

There is no shortage of advocacy projects to be involved with in the diabetes world. I am definitely pro-project and I throw my heart, soul, and effort into the projects I believe in.

However, sometimes it feels like there is pressure to support every advocacy effort and every issue related to diabetes. It’s difficult to balance all those projects with the stress of work, relationships, and all the other demands of everyday life even without diabetes.

It’s easy to forget that living life with diabetes IS diabetes advocacy. A person doesn’t have to participate in any special project to be an advocate. There is a time for action and there is a time to just BE. Whether we like it or not, we are examples. Every day we are showing people what it is like to live with diabetes. We are breaking stereotypes; we are crushing roadblocks; we are showing people what it really means to live with diabetes.

We are all diabetes advocates.

climbing with diabetes

Please read these posts by Kerri and Scott E for more thoughts on the topic.

This post was inspired by, but not entirely about, a session during the Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum. The session was titled Diabetes Advocacy: Moving Forward and focused on how to get people to support diabetes advocacy projects primarily by asking for specific forms of support. It honestly made me feel a little icky. People don’t need to feel pressured to do more than they can do.

And with that comes the disclosure.

Disclosure: Medtronic Diabetes and BayerHealthCare paid for my flight, hotel, and other related travel expenses to attend the Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum. As with any other post on my blog, I receive no compensation for writing this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here will continue to be my own.


  • I am guilty, myself, of often confusing the terms “advocate” and “activist”. It’s something I’m trying to reframe in my mind. 🙂

  • I really like this. I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to other people (usually not favorably) and it’s easy to feel like I’m just farting around while everyone else is changing the world. You continue to be an inspiration, though — even though you do way too much. 😀 Thanks, Sara!

  • Thank you for this, Sara. But like Kim, I still have a hard time grasping the difference between the two, though I try. And this helps.

    As for the second part, the gearing-up for “the ask”, I agree with you on the “ick” factor. If I’m trying to lobby a politician or an organization trying to find a worthwhile humanitarian cause on which to spend their extra cash, that’s one thing. But if I’m talking to friends, relatives, or co-workers, the whole lead-up process seems a bit phoney and … icky.

  • Hitting the nail on the head of 2013 in diabetes (no…chronic illness) advocacy for me. I took on a ton of projects when my life fell apart a couple years earlier to stay busy, but as things started to turn around, I needed to figure out the top couple projects that were most important to me. It’s not much, but it’s what I can do with all sorts of new life priorities.

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