Guest Post: Community Matters by George “Ninjabetic” Simmons

On November 14, 2010 by Cherise Shockley

Title: Community Matters

We are people with diabetes that are online. We have moved out of that horrible place of feeling alone and have been blessed to find more support than we could have ever imagined! We still struggle but we at least have a safe place to come and vent about it.

We MUST get the word out.

There are many more PWD’s in the world that feel the way we once felt. They wake up and feel like they are alone in the diabetes fight and are terrified of what this disease is doing to their bodies. They are confused about how they feel, the guilt of every number, and are curious about new technology. Friends and family members are telling them they should eat better, take better care of themselves, and they should exercise more.

They are told they cannot eat anything with sugar in it. They are scolded if they “cheat” like a criminal but eating a cookie. They feel rotten for doing such an awful thing and feeling like the worst diabetic in the world. “Surely every diabetic takes better care of themselves than this,” they think.

These are the brothers and sisters of our diabetes family and they are need of a lifeboat, a lifeboat filled with a community ready to embrace them and make them feel normal. Our kind of normal.

As I have gotten older I realize that it is not right to not share a good thing. Especially a GREAT thing like the diabetes online community. We need to extend an arm past our keyboards and smart phones and find a way to reach all of the PWD’s out there looking for support.

We have a community, we have a voice, and we need to use it to make the lives of our diabetes family a little easier by just letting them know that they are not alone.

What can we do you ask? How do we do this? The answers are not completely figured out but I have a few ideas.

Consider joining some diabetes support groups in your local community and let them know about the Online Community too. They may be able to pass it along to people who need it.

Go to any and all diabetes events in your area. Just walking around one of those things does not feel like you have support, it can actually be overwhelming. Hand out flyers or business cards for your blog, or with your twitter handle. Invite a person with diabetes to become an online friend and member of our community.

Share about your disease with those around you. Educate people about diabetes. Let family members of diabetics know that the PWD in their family should send you an email to connect.

There are so many things we can do to get the word out. How dare we not do them?

I could not imagine my life without the D-OC. Could you?

Spread the word and be that lifeboat.

-George

To read more about George you can visit his website: Ninjabetic.com

Follow him on twitter: @ninjabetic

7 Responses to “Guest Post: Community Matters by George “Ninjabetic” Simmons”

  • This is an awesome guest-post, George! Thank you so much for writing it.

  • I SO agree with the statement, “It’s not right to not share a good thing.”

  • I shout it from the rooftops whenever I get the chance (figuratively, of course, not literally). :)

  • Well spoken, my friend!

  • George, this is an awesome post. It has really changed the way I’m looking at things. I have a pile of blog “business” cards, yet I hesitate to give them out because I feel self-conscious. How stupid is that? How sad would it be to let that stand in the way of introducing someone new to the wonder of the D-OC. You have opened my eyes – and you can bet I’ll be passing those blog cards around every chance I get!!

  • George, loved the post and I couldn’t agree with you more. Community is the key. I am currently doing research surrounding alternative forms of diabetes education — focusing on the young adult community. Through the interviews I conducted, community became the number one theme of discussion. Without being prompted in any way, all of my participants spoke of how important a sense of community was to them as individuals with Type 1 diabetes.

    This weekend I was lucky enough to get together with forty amazing individuals to celebrate World Diabetes Day. Although our event had been planned for over a month, and most individuals were registered back in September, we had one new friend register a mere 10 minutes before the event began. He jumped on the subway and met us at the CN Tower in Toronto, ON. He had never before hung out with other people with Diabetes. He told us that, at school, when he’d deposit his syringes into the safe disposal containers, he’d often peek inside to see if his was the only one. He couldn’t imagine there being someone ELSE living with diabetes. After spending the day with him, it really made me realize how important meeting and chatting and just BEING with other people with T1 diabetes really is.

    What I have learned experientially through other people who live and breathe T1 diabetes just like me outnumbers exponentially what I’ve learned at my clinic.

    Thanks for blogging on this topic.

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