Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Don't More National/International Companies Embrace November As Diabetes Blue?

We are not our diabetes. We are individuals living with a disease called diabetes.

But our diabetes is a part of who we are and what we are – and for many of us, it’s the longest relationship we’ve ever had.

Diabetes never takes vacation and we are never allowed time off for good behavior.

Diabetes is our constant companion – it is our shadow, except when it’s stepping into our light.

Diabetes costs those who live with it, money, our health, and in many cases - our respect.

Diabetes has a stigma attached to it - and many diabetes myths have done real damage to not only our morale, but the way the public perceives people with diabetes.

Diabetes doesn’t get the respect it should in the media. They never get the diabetes facts straight when reporting about it in the news. When Mario Lopez did an EXTRA story on the first Latina/type 1 PWD Supreme Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor, he closed the piece by saying: You’ll never see sugar on her plate!” YES, REALLY. And millions heard him - once again, diabetes was associated with sugar overload.

While October is a month filled with pink everything, November is already decked out in green and red, and almost completely devoted to the Christmas marketing blitz and shopping frenzy.

Most corporations don’t bring out their blue and raise their diabetes freak flag high in November, let alone NOvember 14th, which is World Diabetes Day - and I’m not really sure why.

Is it because people in high positions in marketing & PR at major corporations blame the people with diabetes for their diagnoses?

Is diabetes not sexy because marketing execs feel that if people with diabetes just work harder, much like the miraculous Halle Berry – we would be able to wean ourselves off the insulin & “the betes?”

Do corporate heads think that if we all took Drew Cary’s lead, we could exercise our type 1 and type 2 diabetes away?

As we know, Halle was misdiagnosed, and Drew needs to get a clue. Because not matter how much weight he lost, he is still a person with type 2 diabetes.

Type 1, Type 1.5, and type 2 diabetes numbers are growing and unfortunately diabetes isn’t going away anytime soon. Is too much ask that companies besides mostly Pharma (and I'm really glad their behind it, because they absolutely should be) support World Diabetes Day on November 14th and November as National Diabetes month?

If Kentucky Fried Chicken can offer Pink Buckets in support Breast Cancer awareness, why can’t they offer blue buckets in November to support funding for a diabetes cure?

Why can't Crumbs Cupcakes create a blue circle cupcake to raise money for research for a diabetes cure like they have with their Pink Ribbon cupcakes? When I asked them if they'd consider such a cupcake, I was told via email: "That we receive so many requests, and can't fulfill them all due to limited resources." OK, I know I asked last minute, my bad. It's just that Tony Hawk and The View have their own CRUMBS cupcake. Come January, I'm putting the 2011 World Diabetes Day back on the CRUMBS table - BIG TIME.

How come Comcast can’t devote programming to diabetes in the month of November?

I’d like schools to devote a week in November to educate their students about all types of diabetes in their health classes

If Hamilton Beach Sold a blue mixer and donated portions of said mixer to research for the diabetes cure, damn straight I’d by me that blue mixer – and I might buy one for my sister too!

I’d don’t want to make this US against THEM - because I'm not against people with other diseases. I feel for them, I donate to their fundraisers when asked, and I support them as a fellow patient warriors.

Cancer kills, so does diabetes.
And cancer affects millions of people, so does diabetes.

BOTH diseases need to be cured.

I’m not against the Pink Ribbon or raising money for breast cancer. On the contrary, family members have had cancer, three of my friends have had and survived thyroid cancer, Mark's mother died of breast cancer and I’ve walked, and made donations to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in her name– and will continue to do so.

And I will wear my Red Dress in February and l will support the American Heart Foundation's Red Dress Campaign! And by doing that, I will be honoring my mother and hers, and my two sisters who all have heart disease.

But I’d really like people to start associating diabetes with something other “Steel Magnolias,” celebrity weight loss stories, that OZ/Oprah show, and I’d like them to stop blaming the person with diabetes.

A great start would be if millions of people started associating November with diabetes blue.

It would outstanding if, while shopping for the holidays, mothers could purchase their sons favorite baseball team caps with a blue circle logo supporting World Diabetes Day and research for the cure.

I'd love if every team in the NFL would donate 1 game days ticket sales to the Diabetes Research Institute. Hell, I might go to that game - AND PAY ATTENTION!!

Yeah, all of the above would be great, but will ever happen?


Nicole said...

wonderful post...I would love to see more blue!! I wonder how we can make this a reality?

Hmmmm you got me thinking!! and that's always a good thing :)

Michael Hoskins said...

JDRF is mostly there, as they already have Blue... It's just that group known as the ADA that needs some persuasion dealt their way... Yep. One color that can be embraced would be stellar.

Meri said...

AMEN!!! I'm like a cult follower shouting AMEN at every verse you write!

If we could get the ADA and JDRF on the same page with WDD...and make our united color blue...and not that stupid grey! THEN progress would be made.

It is frustrating. Agreed.

Reyna said...

Ditto sistah!

Penny said...

Oh that damn blue circle that every diabetes organization in the US of A refuses to adopt - that one? Yeah, that one. Try and get a single circle pin. Impossible. Try and get a t-shirt. Impossible. I am seriously gonna copyright infringe someone and make my damn own one soon. JDRF and ADA leave me cold. Sorry. They do. They both don't realize the power they can harness of people and caregivers. The blue circle could unite us all and they blindly ignore it. I'm not sure I quite get why, all I know is that it makes me feel as if they haven't a clue.

Kim said...

I read an article this week on the marketing done for breast cancer awareness, and it got me thinking. It seems that the ads for breast cancer awareness are actually just ads for breast awareness. The cancer part, amazingly, gets ignored in advertising. You see pink everywhere, things that are supposed to coyly resemble breasts, etc. Let me tell you; boobs don't need any more press. Everyone's already aware of them. The cancer part is what needs attention. And why are they trying to make cancer sexy?

Anyway, I digress. Maybe since all of this non-cancer breast cancer advertising worked, we should try to sexy-up diabetes. I mean, the pancreas already resembles a... well....

Shannon said...

I had a similar post planned for tomorrow. I've revised it somewhat because I don't want to be redundant. So, check out my blog tomorrow - there's a big, old shout-out to you!

Lee Ann Thill said...

I'm in a really sour mood about the whole WDD thing. I just don't think anyone gives s crap except for us, and if you and me and the rest of the DOC is doing stuff for diabetes with each other, how is that different from any other day?

I dislike everything that the big D organizations have done to make the most of it. The ADA is sticking with the red since that's their color every day of the year which is why it's also the color of American Diabetes Month. I was reading the questions that have been submitted to JDRF for teh T1Talk, and I don't like most of the questions, but then I personally think spending an hour hearing about what they're doing to make the cure happen is a waste of time.

As you said, the various companies that support the pink ribbon campaign aren't going to be bothered with a blue circle campaign, but honestly, I think most of the companies are simply doing it to promote sales of their products. Most aren't donating proceeds to cancer organizations, but people have the perception that if they buy pink stuff, they're supporting breast cancer awareness. And there's also the fact that in the end, breasts are sexier than broken pancreases.

Like I said, I'm not in a fun, happy, optimistic place about WDD these days...

I saw Penny was looking for t-shirts though. I made some on, which you might recall I was wearing last year:

George said...

Whenever I look at the WDD website, it seems more buildings are lit up in blue and more events happen OUTSIDE of the United States.

With that, do we just let it go? I think we make it a big deal here in our community and out where we can and if that's it then so be it.

It sucks but at least someone is trying to get the word out.

Melissa Mashburn said...

I like this! I would also like to see doctors and other medical professionals fully acknowledge that there is a direct correlation between diabetes. I would like to see diabetes not just being blamed because of being over weight. I would like people to stop assuming that because I am an insulin dependent diabetic that I do not "try" hard enough to manage my diabetes. Between my anti-depressants and the steroids I have to be on, it is extremely hard to manage my diabetes.

R.H. said...

Michael, I feel somewhat offended after reading your comment that ADA and the reason they need to stay "red." I'm a volunteer for ADA and since the creation of WDD, I have worn my blue circle pin.

For that matter, all of us on our local board does. Just because organizations may have different colors or logos, that shouldn't stop no one from uniting together for one cause.

To me, it's more than the color: it's the awareness that we need to push for.

Renata said...

It's a second class disease here too in NZ. However I think it's because we (speaking at a National Committee member) don't push hard enough. We wait until it's almost November and we need to take ownership of that.(I wasn't a favorite speaker the night I announced this to our group) I think it might be the same in the US. The major orgs needs to have a strong marketing team that targets mainstream marketing venues. It just comes down to sales. That's it. ADA and JDRF need to up their mainstream marketing and they need to start now for next year.

Jamie said...

Amen. The sad truth is that the fight for attention isn't a battle that just Diabetes is losing.

The overall discrepency between disease patient populations and the amount of media attention that each gets is jaw dropping.

Promoting breast cancer awareness is "sexy" but also is able to draw on everyone's personal and emotional connection to their mother or sister.

I think one of the biggest obstacles that diabetes faces is just how prevalent it is. Because it is everywhere, everyone has different interpretations of what a person living with diabetes looks like, making it difficult to create a single identity that everyone can associate with.

But that is just my personal opinion...

RFamHere said...

You wrote: "Do corporate heads think that if we all took Drew Cary’s lead, we could exercise our type 1 and type 2 diabetes away?"

Thank you for helping dispel that myth!!! So many people think that Type 2s are lazy over-eaters that could have prevented this or "cure" themselves if they would just lead a healthy lifestyle. I am young and at a healthy weight, but here I am - Type 2. Thank you for supporting us as well!