On Wednesday evening, May 18th, a group of T1 diabetics and their partners gathered together in Kansas City. This was the first meeting of this particular group since Jeffery Brewer’s announcement of the JDRF’s new outreach program for the Adult T1 community. By the way, among this Wednesday evening group was Jess, it was certainly nice to see her again!
This get together was organized by the Kansas City Chapter of the JDRF and was attended by over a dozen individuals including all flavors of Type 1’s, those diagnosed as children, those as adults and caregivers and partners as well. It was really a kick-off meeting for what the Adult Type 1 (AT1) group in KC wanted to accomplish in the coming year.
Regan, who is a staffer and is the Director for Outreach and New Business here at the KC Chapter, hosted the event at a local restaurant, Lucky Brewgrille. The restaurant has been the site of previous JDRF events and the food and beer selection is really quite good. I had a Shrimp and Bacon Club sandwich, sorry I was remiss in getting a photo, but it was totally bolus-worthy!
Regan introduced herself and explained how this adult type 1 outreach effort is a new direction for the JDRF and really getting it rolling would take a while. We all then introduced ourselves with a little background and got down to business.
As someone who’s been pretty critical of the JDRF in the past regarding the adult T1 community, I have to say that I was impressed with the meeting. First of all, I don’t believe there was a single mention of fund-raising. Second, Regan was very attentive and took a lot of notes as the attendees told their stories, reasons for attending and what they’d like to see in the future.
All the attendees were great, listening and supporting everyone as they told their stories. We were all focused on one thing: Making things better for diabetics as they navigate through the various stages of their lives.
One of the more common themes was, of course, support; some face-time with other diabetics where you can just chat without the D hanging there like a low-lying apple, ready to fall into the middle of everything. Just someone who really understands how frustrating things can be at times.
Just a few of the other topics included sports, caregivers, the issues women face and outreach efforts. Not only to the diabetics we know about, but also to those who we don’t know about. They probably don’t know who the heck we are either. How can we reach them?
I know that we can’t be given lists of diabetics that various doctor’s in the community see. That would certainly make it easier for us to “find” them (and go to jail) but I wonder if we could do it the other way around. Give the doctors lists of local resources that they can either hand out or just have sitting in their offices. That way, the patient has the info they need if they should choose to use it.
I think every advocacy blogger that I’ve ever read has asked this question: “How do we find the people that don’t know about us, about the support systems that are available. How do we make them aware, get that info into their hands?”
That’s a damn good question.
Today’s snarky comment: You really didn’t think I’d do a post without at least one curse word did you?
©2011 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and http://StrangelyDiabetic.com