Getting Involved: It's Only as Hard as YOU Make it
Maybe its been a few months, or even years, since diabetes became the ‘new normal’ in your house. In that time you may have devoted yourself to becoming very efficient in managing this all-consuming disease on a day-to-day basis either for yourself, or for your child. Maybe you even spend a fair amount of time online seeking information to help you do that job even better. Or maybe you're interested in connecting with people in online support groups who are dealing with the same challenges you are to learn about the latest and greatest management tools, technology, etc. It feels like enough...but is it?
Being online no doubt exposes you to many, MANY, types of fundraising and advocacy efforts that may leave you feeling guilty that you don't do more...but honestly most days just doing what you need to do to ensure diabetes doesn't ‘win’ in your household feels like enough. On the other hand, maybe you don’t feel guilty at all. Maybe you feel you do not have the resources you think you need to raise a lot of money or to ‘grab’ the attention of an elected official. Isn't successfully managing the disease doing enough?
The purpose of this article is not to lay a guilt trip on you if you feel getting through your day is all you can handle right now but I have a question that needs to be answered by you and only you. If you do not get involved...who will? There are 9 million different causes out there and if those they impact most do not get involved…..who will?
The short answer is no one.
Getting involved and making a difference is much simpler than many people realize. It’s not how much you do it's that you are doing something. Most people who get involved in issues they care deeply about don't start out thinking their idea is going to be the biggest thing to ever come along. They got involved because waiting for someone else just wasn't acceptable. Baby steps toward a goal. That's often how meaningful change starts. Something small that can be managed in daily life.
I know a woman from Pennsylvania who didn't have the resources to give financially in a "substantial" way. (I've always found that wording ridiculous and if any organization makes you feel like your help and support is ‘not substantial enough’, contact me and I will connect you to a place that will cherish your involvement.) Knowing that she could educate others about living with this disease, she began visiting school, after school, in her neighborhood presenting diabetes education to the children. Shortly thereafter, she instituted a community walkathon and fun day which annually draws over 500 people.Today, just a few years later, that event has topped $100,000 to benefit diabetes research. This, from a woman who thought she could not contribute financially.
Another mom of a child with diabetes had no resources whatsoever and yet she finds the time to give just 5 hours each year. As the well-known song (Season's of Love) from the Broadway musical Rent points out there are ”525,600 minutes”— in a year and this mom manages to find just 300 minutes to teach elementary and middle school-aged children in her Connecticut neighborhhod about the warning signs of diabetes. By merely speaking to the schools' principal, the first assembly date was set up over four years ago and now thousands of kids are educated each and every year. This, from a woman who thought she could not make a difference.
Sense a pattern here?
It’s really very simple. It is not WHAT you choose to do but, rather, choosing to do something. Because at the end of the day those who are impacted the most are the ones who care the most. Being significant is not necessarily measured by what you do for the world. It can also be measured by the difference you make in just one person's life—especially if your message, or that connection saves someone's life.Think about it.
I am a DiabetesDad.