Looking back at 2015, one word comes to mind when I think of my life with diabetes: advocate.
I thought about and discussed advocacy a lot during this past year. Who is a diabetes patient advocate? The patient him or herself? Anyone who cares about people living with diabetes? Where does advocacy take place? In the doctor’s office? On Capital Hill? Which issue is most important to advocate for? Easy and affordable access to treatments and medical devices? A cure?
The answer to all of these questions is “Yes.”
Being an advocate and engaging in advocacy is all of these things, and so much more. Each conversation has the potential to change a person’s view of life with diabetes. Each doctor’s visit has the potential to improve the treatment that the next patient receives, and the next, and the next… Each letter written has the potential to influence the work of policymakers.
It’s as if every time a person speaks up for the rights and needs of people living with diabetes a stone is tossed into a pond, generating a ripple of change.
According to the CDC there are more than 29 million people living with diabetes in the US alone. Imagine if each of us tossed a single stone into that pond.