Diabetes Awareness Month: A Time for Action
I think all of us that are part of or work with the diabetes community eagerly anticipate diabetes awareness month. The month brings diabetes support and awareness to the forefront through more events, more blog posts, more tweets, more education, and of course, more blue! This year is certain to provide plenty of opportunities to support the cause, for which I am honored to be a part! Below I’ve highlighted a few of the diabetes awareness month events and initiatives that anyone can participate in to show their support.
American Diabetes Month
The official sponsor of the month is the American Diabetes Association and they have dubbed it American Diabetes Month, but others refer to it as diabetes awareness month or National Diabetes Month. The Association’s theme for 2011 is “I Raise My Hand To Stop Diabetes.” During the month, the Association will honor those that have worked to stop diabetes throughout the community.
|Logo courtesy of American Diabetes Association|
World Diabetes Day
Perhaps the highlight of American Diabetes Month is World Diabetes Day (WDD), on Monday, November 14. WDD is sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and is likely the single biggest day around the world in support of diabetes awareness. WDD became an official United Nations-sanctioned holiday in 2007 and is celebrated on the birthday of Dr. Federick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
|Logo courtesy of International Diabetes Federation|
Throughout the month, but especially on World Diabetes Day, you will likely see a lot of buildings, fountains and other public places “go blue.” The IDF issued a blue monument challenge in 2010 and buildings like the Empire State Building in New York City, the Prudential building in Boston, Los Angeles International Airport, the Sydney Opera House, and even the Leaning Tower of Pisa were lit blue to honor the day. You can find a list of buildings already planning to go blue here, along with instructions if you have the ability to turn a building blue.
|The Alamo WDD 2010 – Photo by Michaelangelo Carmona-Renaud|
Another great initiative that occurs during November is Blue Fridays. Initiated last year by Cherise Shockley, Blue Fridays encourages people to wear blue each Friday in November to demonstrate support and heighten awareness of diabetes awareness month and World Diabetes Day. Participation can be anything from wearing your favorite blue scarf to painting your finger nails blue. It’s a simple step you can take to increase awareness about diabetes.
|Laura Kolodjeski sports her blue.|
For those that use social media, there’s another very easy way to show diabetes support during November – add a Twibbon to your Twitter and/or Facebook profile picture. Wondering what a Twibbon is? It’s a service that allows you to add a small overlay icon at the bottom of your social media profile pictures to show your support for affiliations and causes. The best part is that it’s very simple to do!
A couple Twibbons that show support for diabetes are the World Diabetes Day blue circle Twibbon (seen below), created by Manny Hernandez, or the Stop Diabetes Twibbon from the American Diabetes Association.
To add a Twibbon to your profile you:
1. Choose your Twibbon and click on the link:
2. Click on “Show my support now!” by using the tabs toward the top of the Twibbon profile.
3. When prompted, login to your Twitter or Facebook account, where you can select which profile pictures you’d like the icon to appear on.
4. A tweet or Facebook post will automatically be sent showing your support for the Twibbon. It’s that simple!
Tip: If you decide you don’t like it, or you want to remove or replace it, the instructions on removing a Twibbon are here.
November 9th will also mark D-Blog Day. The annual event, started in 2005 by blogger Gina Capone, has become a very active day for diabetes awareness. A diabetes-related topic is announced and the diabetes online community is invited to write blog posts on the subject. Last year’s topic was “6 things you want people to know about diabetes,” and you can find our recap here. I cannot tell you how much I learned and enjoyed reading last year’s blog posts. So I am definitely anxious for what you all will come up with this year!
|Scrapbook photo courtesy of Gina Capone|
Although it seems like a lot, I’ve only scratched the surface on November’s awareness activities. I encourage you to check out our events calendar and to seek out diabetes-related events in your own community this November. The month is all about awareness and there are plenty of ways you can get involved, both in person and online. Here’s to increasing awareness!
All the best,