Today’s prompt is about my advocacy journey. Was it hard? Why did I decide to start?
The journey is the most excited part. End results are always great, but the journey and the story behind it, to me, is the most exciting part. My advocacy journey was something that was not planned. It sort of just fell into my lap and then I participated in one advocacy effort and that was it. I was hooked.
My journey pretty much started when I decided to start my blog. The first time that I received a comment on a post was when I knew that I could actually do something to make a difference. And that’s when the bulb went off.
I first sat down and thought about things that were important to me in the diabetes world. Back then, it was education. I was shocked that there were 20+ million Americans with diabetes and only thousands of diabetes educators. Who was educating all these people? Well, I find out, they weren’t being educated. So, back then I took part in providing an opportunity for diabetes educators to use my site to write their own guest posts because they didn’t have their own websites at the time. This allowed them to reach out to the public to let them know that this lack of education is a big issue.
It still is a really big issue!
After that, I realized that I could use the voice that I created with the site to share others’ advocacy efforts. That is when I hit a roadblock.
I started sharing too many efforts. So many that I couldn’t even keep track of them anymore. I couldn’t put any effort into anything because my time and effort was being spread so thin.
That was one area that was difficult. I didn’t want to not share ideas and advocacy efforts from other people. But, I knew that I had to. I couldn’t help spread everyone’s idea.
A few years later, I began to have more and more conversations with Bennet Dunlap, who those in the diabetes community know is one of the best advocators out there. Through Bennet, I was able to learn more about Christel Aprigliano and her advocacy efforts and the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition. And wow, my advocacy thoughts completely changed. I remember thinking to myself, “Dude, you’re advocacy efforts are whack compared to these two, it’s time to step up your game!”
That is exactly what I did. I stepped up my game. I started to advocate more. I also started to help others figure out how to advocate more. I started to become less shy and speak up in person and meet with people that could influence the lives of people living with diabetes.
Over the last 3-6 months, my advocacy efforts have fallen off the map again. But, what else than a month long writing challenge to help spark that advocacy fire again.
And boy, is there a lot to advocate for.