But more importantly, so do you.
That's why the JDRF is moving ahead with what it calls Type 1 Talk, giving us another platform to talk amongst ourselves on any number of important diabetes-related topics.
You'll recall that I'd recently written a post about the JDRF's new effort being launched for the entire Diabetes Community on Nov. 14, which is World Diabetes Day. This is somewhat monumental in that it's the first time the 40-year-old organization has acklowledged at the national level that this day even exists, let alone that it has a plan to do something to mark the day. Using the energy around that day, the JDRF appears to be trying to use its national might to start some conversation locally, rather than relying on the efforts of local chapters that can be at best scattered and not-quick-to-action.
The needs of the Adult Type 1 Community have long been ignored by the JDRF, and we Children With Diabetes Who Grew Up often have felt abandoned by the organization that proclaims to represent us and that big Hope for a Cure. Now, this Type 1 Talk looks like it could be the start of a bridge to filling that void. My friend and fellow D-Blogger Scott Strange over at Strangely Diabetic has written on this as well, given his 40-years of Living With Type 1. We are both encouraged by the efforts here, and hope it's the start of something great.
Basically, this is a huge network of local D-Meetups on World Diabetes Day that will all be connected through the JDRF's use of a new Facebook application and a live video streaming Q&A. We People With Diabetes can submit topics in advance here. Participants can meet new people or already-established friends in their community through "events" at homes, offices, community centers. Not just meeting, people will be able to view a live streaming video presentation from JDRF staff and volunteers, ask questions, and then continue those conversations at their local events. People can host their own event or find one to attend, and we can also talk with other Type 1 Talk participants and access event materials or resources.
Here in Indianapolis, it looks like we have a few already in the works: one that may be more family-focused with some parents or even medical professionals interested, another being organized by some of us Adult Type 1s, and still another that may be one emphasizing the local JDRF Advocacy efforts. I've created a page using the Facebook application where people can find and sign up, or even use that as a jumping off point to create their own.
Now, I'll be the first to admit: I didn't "get" this at first. My initial reaction was something like: "Oh great, another 'event' where the JDRF will want me to give them money or 'advocate' for a cure." But then I had some discussions and delved into what this is all about and saw that I was wrong. I've realzied that this picks up that local meetup-loving mantra that the Diabetes Online Community so incredibly embraces and represents. It sidesteps the haphazard local efforts and encourages people to just get together, but then connects them with a national JDRF discussion on topics WE'VE asked them to discuss. Now, I do hope that the topics aren't all focused on research, cure, Artificial Pancreas, and specific JDRF Advocacy campaigns and initiatives. But rather, I'd like to see other topics embraced, such as the Diabetes Online Community and what a resource this can be for the newly-diagnosed, the longtime D-veterans, or the families impacted by diabetes. How do we use these tools to better engage and manage our health, and help others do the same? The JDRF has a huge platform here to engage in something bigger than itself, and we'll see if it's willing to step away from just those internal priority messages to tackle topics that are important to the entire D-Community.
I have to admit: I am excited and energized by this initiative. While we're starting off with WDD now, this could become a regular thing not confined to a specific day or time. That's even more encouraging to me. But I'm only one person in a massive population of people who need to be convinced. Maybe this will be a starting point for them, and for you, too.
As we approach this date a month or so away, please take a look at Type 1 Talk and consider joining the conversation. Some 45-minute training sessions on using this new Facebook application tool are being hosted, starting today:
Tuesday, 10/12 at 3pm EDT
Wednesday, 10/13 at 11am EDT
Thursday, 10/14 at 7:30pm EDT
Friday, 10/15 at 12pm EDT
Monday, 10/18 at 1pm EDT
Tuesday, 10/19 at 4pm EDT
Let the JDRF know what topics YOU want to hear about, and let's all join together and use this as a way to spark some meaningful and productive dialogue on World Diabetes Day.