Dribbling, Biking and Running Across the Country, Raising Awareness of Diabetes
It’s been a while since my last appearance on Discuss Diabetes, so I thought I’d take this opportunity at the end of the year to recap some of the events we’ve supported over the past year. It’s been a busy year here in the Patient Solutions group, so I’ll do my best to summarize.
Back in April, Laura and I spoke about the Dribble to Stop Diabetes (DTSD) program on the blog. I’m happy to report that with the help of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA Development League (D-League) this program has been a big hit. We’ve had a great time touring the country and spreading the word about making healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent or live better with diabetes.
As a kick-off to the campaign, we recorded a public service announcement with our incredible campaign spokespeople: Dwight Howard, Alana Beard, Walt Frazier and Chris Dudley. They did a great job highlighting the growing number of people affected by diabetes and encouraging folks to get tested if they’re at risk. Many of you may have seen this ad on NBA and WNBA broadcasts as well as National TV throughout the year. Would love to hear your feedback if you did see it!
Throughout 2011, we had the opportunity to attend 17 NBA, WNBA and D-League games at DTSD Team Activation Nights. The passion we saw from basketball fans at the games was amazing. Our hope is that the same level of passion can be devoted to the fight against diabetes once people become more aware of the risk.
One of the ways the DTSD program is helping to put that passion into practice is through our FIT Clinics. By teaching basketball drills and other fitness routines in a fun, family atmosphere, these events emphasize the importance of staying active. Led by professional basketball clinicians with the help of campaign spokespeople, NBA and WNBA players and legends, FIT Clinics are a great opportunity to mix diabetes education with fun. Plus, you can’t beat dedicated coaching from some of basketball’s best!
If any of you watched this year’s NBA All-Star weekend, you may have heard about the NBA All-Star Jam Session. Like a basketball theme park, the Jam Session included over 300,000 square feet of attractions featuring the NBA, WNBA, D-League and USA Basketball and offered us a great opportunity to connect with some very excited basketball fans.
But as cool as the NBA Jam Session was, I think seeing the NBA Nation 53-foot customized 18-wheeler transform into a 20,000 square-foot basketball playground may have been the most impressive technology feat we witnessed this year. As an associate partner of NBA Nation, we had the privilege of touring the US from May through July with this mobile unit, as well as a great group of NBA players and legends. One of the NBA legends with us was Darryl Dawkins (a.k.a. Chocolate Thunder), the official ambassador for NBA Nation, who joined us at every stop of the tour to sign autographs, pose for pictures and chat with fans. The tour draws over one million fans each year, and we did our best to connect with as many of them as possible as we crossed the country sharing diabetes risk tests and awareness information.
Another program that’s kept us busy this year is the Healthy Lifestyles campaign, which travels around the country hosting events in malls and marathon expos to promote healthy living and lifestyle changes to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The events held at malls are particularly interesting because people don’t typically go to the mall thinking of health or staying active, especially at this time of year. Many of the people that stop by just want to see what it’s all about. They’ll come for the basketball pop-a-shot tournaments, virtual bike rides or photo booths and end up learning about diabetes and the importance of staying active. I especially love hearing the feedback from these events, as people share what they’re doing to improve their health. One newly diagnosed man recently thanked us and said that he hopes his neighbors take to heart our message about healthy lifestyle changes. It’s heartening to hear stories like this and to know the work we’re doing is appreciated.
Looking ahead to 2012, we plan to continue both the Healthy Lifestyles and DTSD events and will keep you posted on what’s coming up via the “Upcoming Events” calendar here on Discuss Diabetes, as well as DribbletoStopdiabetes.com. Keep an eye out for events in your area, as we’ll continue to tour the country spreading diabetes awareness and touting the virtues of healthy living!