One of the revelations I had here with the Children With Diabetes (CWD) family is that both CWD and the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) want the same thing, and we both have the same problem.

We both want to help people with diabetes, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. That’s the obvious part — wanting to help people with diabetes. Specifically what I mean is exposure. Not “exposure” in the way of marketing speak (growing brands and name recognition, etc.). I mean finding ways to give people a taste of the magic.

In the DOC we talk often about reaching those that don’t know about us. We all know how much the DOC has helped us, and we also know that we are a very small portion of those living with diabetes. We talk about ways we can bring the love and support of the DOC to all those who desperately need help living with diabetes, but don’t know we are out here for them.

CWD is also a lifeline for so many. They serve a lot of people through their website, but also have the challenge and privilege to put on a handful of huge conferences. The conferences are life changing events. Life. Changing. But they can’t reach everyone that needs them either (every single person living with type 1 diabetes).

For both of us, some of the challenges are the same. Some are much more complicated. Some might be easy, but we don’t have the right pieces of the puzzle yet, or don’t even know where the puzzle edges are. Some challenges might be impossible, and some might be much easier than we know.

I’m happy that the relationship between the DOC and CWD is constantly growing stronger. It should – they are good folks doing good things, and so are we. We can both find ways to help each other. If you think about it, finding ways to help is a specialty of both groups, right?

We have been given a huge opportunity on two fronts: building content for adults with type 1, and singing praises for the DOC. This is a big deal. I hope that everyone in the DOC recognizes the significance of these first steps, and responds to the CWD family with an abundance of love and support. Like we do.

  • http://www.ninjabetic.com George

    I cannot tell you how excited I am to be attending the CWD event in July. I agree that the focus of both groups is the same and I believe with each others help we can reach so many.

  • http://strangelydiabetic.com Scott Strange

    Scott,

    Those are excellent points. What can we do to reach those who may not know about us? Or those like me who never ever realized I even needed support until I found the DOC?

    I hope this is a front we can build on and leverage at the local level. Out actually talking to people in person seems to be the best option for reaching peoples

    oh, BTW, temperature today? 68F… temp Saturday morning? 10F

  • http://www.portablepancreasgirl.com Stacey D.

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. And it sounds like you are spot on. I have a huge appreciation for CWD and wish so much something like it existed when I was a CWD. But the fact that they realize CWD become AWD, and they are incorporating that into their mission, even better!! I’ve signed up for the FL conference + am already preaying that nothing comes in the way of me getting there!!!

  • Ash

    One common challenge for DOC and CWD is to reach low income families. Diabetes Scholars Foundation is doing great work to bring low income families to Friends for Life but funding remains hard to find.

    LIFs tend not to gave regular Internet access and/ or often face educational challenges that make access to the DOC hard if not impossible. That’s where I’d like to see more focus in 2011.

    I’m grateful that I have 24/7 web access and can afford to attend conference. I wonder what life would be like without either privilege.

  • http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com Karen

    What an very thoughtful and awesome post, Scott. Your words ring so true. I’ve heard many echo my thoughts of “I want to do more, I know I have so much more to give”. I hope together we can all find ways to give and do much much more!

  • http://www.diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com/ k2

    CWD is Diabetes Land and life changing! Being with others who speak the language of D gives everyone a sense of belonging and family – much like the DOC.

    I remember a time not so long ago when there was no such thing as “on-line” and the only time I saw other PWDs was around the dinner table or in my Endo’s waiting room.

    CWDs grow up and become adults living with diabetes – and now we have a place to go that is not only magic, but acknowledges the fact that we do exist!

    Kelly Kunik

  • http://www.diabetesadvocacy.com Barb

    CWD has definitely been a lifeline for me, first online about 10 years ago and later in “real life” at conferences. I have been blessed to watch the conferences grow and become a part of them here in Canada. Many of the people involved truly have become my family.

    As for the lower income families, besides the scholarship funds, I have also seen LifeScan bring in lower income families and getting clinics involved to bring their most needy clients to the events.

    As a parent, I have seen the CWD’s grow and the need for our babies to have a forum as adults. It is wonderful that the DOC and CWD are able to begin to work together to help this amazing support initiative grow.

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