Diabetes Forecast

Making Noise

By Kelly Rawlings, Editorial Director , ,

Need Help?

If you are being discriminated against because of your diabetes at school, work, or elsewhere, contact the American Diabetes Association for assistance and a form to request help from a legal advocate. 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383), diabetes.org/gethelp

Want to Help?

Diabetes Advocates
All it takes to support ADA advocacy efforts is a passion for making a difference and your own story. We'll send you action alerts—you decide how much time you can spare for the cause. To sign up, go to diabetes.org/takeaction.
Health Care Professionals
Your expertise can help us train school personnel, create education materials, and provide expert testimony to resolve issues and fight discrimination. To join the ADA Health Care Professional Legal Advocacy Network, go to diabetes.org/patientrights.
As a member of the ADA Advocacy Attorney Network, you can help develop policies and materials to prevent discrimination, represent people facing discrimination, and work to change unfair laws. We need lawyers everywhere, but these states are in particular need of more attorney advocates: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina. To join, go to

I have a theory about how diabetes changes us. And I'm not talking blood glucose levels or weight.

I'm talking character and community. Diabetes makes us stronger. And together, we're a loud, powerful force.

At first, diabetes is a personal problem, a family issue. Some of us are diagnosed without knowing another person living with diabetes. Many of us see few positive examples of taking care of the condition. Some of us, feeling the blame that society bestows on any type of chronic disease—and fearing discrimination—keep it to ourselves.

Those early days with diabetes have a demanding learning curve. I've watched my brother's family make that journey with the type 1 diagnosis of my nephew. The low-that-wouldn't-quit after one of Zach's ball games? It required immediate attention; there was no time for the bigger picture, at that moment.

Eventually, many of us reach the point of "Diabetes isn't easy, but I can do this." That's the message of hope—the stories of inspiration and courage in these pages. My wish is that each of us embraces the belief that we can thrive and takes action to do so.

But even in the face of our accomplishments, diabetes takes an unacceptable toll on humanity. The complications, the costs, the emotional drain. Of course, I'm preaching to the choir.

And that's why you are so very important. You help us strike a blow to diabetes every time you work on advocacy efforts, whether writing to legislators or fighting for fair treatment at school, on the job, or even in an airport. Here are two examples in this issue: raising awareness of the needs of high-risk populations and fighting a case to protect our children in school.

We have a special title for American Diabetes Association members who serve in this way: Diabetes Advocates. It takes just a moment to become one (box, right). We'll send you action alerts about writing to your legislators, volunteering locally, making some noise.

Yes, diabetes takes way too much of your time. A big thank-you for giving just a little more, raising your voice to help us all.

Kelly Rawlings, PWD* type 1
*Person with diabetes



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