THE BETES Organization

Image of Rick Phillips

Today I’m sharing a post from Rick about THE BETES Organization. Their mission is to help you feel better about the hard stuff, and they help people, families, and caregivers understand the meanings of chronic illness in their lives through a unique, playful, and un-scary method. Also, sock-puppets. 🙂

When Scott and I talked about writing this guest blog about ‘the BETES‘, he didn’t have to invite me twice. It’s such a thrill because ‘the BETES’ means a great deal to me and I hope it will come to mean a great deal to you as well.

The BETES Organization (

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about my encounter with ‘The BETES’ Organization. I hope you’ll read it as an introduction to this post (here’s the link again). If you do you will find that I was able to visualize what diabetes looks like to me. I found that sometimes diabetes is docile other times it rages. Based on the response to that blog post, I believe my feelings about diabetes are more common than not.The BETES Organization Logo

People who engage in a BETES program find an active way to confront the emotional hurt of diabetes. After we participate, we are left with a tool to begin that confrontation. Those of us (both young and not so young) can use that tool and the ongoing support of The BETES experience to complement existing diabetes education efforts led by doctors, diabetes educators, mental health professionals, and most importantly by you and me – the people with diabetes.


Marina Tsaplina
Founder – Marina Tsaplina

Diabetes is often like a monster hiding under the bed. It gets worse the longer one chooses not to confront it. I liken it to socks under the bed. When my sons were young I had to chase monsters that hid under their bed. Invariably those monsters turned out to be socks. But as every parent knows those sock monsters are very real for our children until they are found and confronted. So too are the emotions that go along with diabetes. Emotions related to diabetes are always evolving as they expand and contract. But no matter how small the concern might be, it has been my experience that they always come back unless we develop the emotional resilience to overcome and keep them at bay. ‘The BETES’ Organization helps people with diabetes develop the resilience to handle the emotional impact of diabetes.

When my wife Sheryl and I chose to support ‘The BETES’ Organization with our money and time it was with the hope that we would help people with diabetes and our wonderful type 3’s confront the emotional impact of our shared disease. As a former monster chaser in my son’s rooms, I know that getting the first sock hiding under their bed is just a start. In fact it seemed for a while like I had to chase a sock out from under the bed almost every night until my sons found the courage to manage their own monsters.

Now of course both of my sons are expert sock chasers for their children. They have learned to not let monsters get out of hand. They can do this because their mom and I helped them learn to confront them.

Marina of The BETES at The Clara Barton Rainbow Club Day Camp


My Diabetic Monster

‘The BETES’ Organization helps us to confront our diabetic monsters. Yes these monsters are very real. Even as an experienced monster hunter for my sons, I was still incapable of confronting my own diabetic monster. It took much help from trained therapists and my family but today I have the resilience to confront that monster when it rears its ugly head. My own journey to resilience includes the questions posed when I encountered ‘The BETES’. The experience was cathartic; it gave me a chance to share with words and images what diabetes looks like. My wife said those words offered her a viable understanding of what diabetes means to me and as a result to her.

THE BETES Organization - Health Care is a Human Story

Please consider contributing to ‘The BETES’ because your financial support will make it possible for us to launch programs that will help build emotional resilience to confront and understand their disease. With your help our immediate goal is to provide ‘The BETES’ program to 10 diabetic camps in North America this summer. Today we need your financial support to deliver ‘The BETES’ uniquely engaging and powerful programs to the campers, the parents, and the camp counselors across the nation to facilitate a program of empowerment, community, and connection that fosters a path of true joy.

Even small contributions go a very long way. Help us confront the monster. And take it from an experienced monster chaser: when we act together we can put the emotional side of diabetes in its place.

You can make a tax deductible donation to ‘The BETES’ here:

Thank you, Rick! Learn more about Marina and some of the wonderful work she and The BETES Organization is doing with this quick video:

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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