August 23, 2012

WEGO Blog Carnival Day 3: Challenge Accepted!

NOTE: August 21-28 The Type1Rider Organization will be sharing our Sister Organizations (Blue Heel Society) Blog posts for the WEGO 'Advocate For Another' Blog Carnival.

Day 3 of the WEGO 'Advocating For Another' Blog Carnival prompts us to write about how "Leading a community isn’t all sunshine and ice cream – it’s hard. Write a post that delves into 3 challenges that you face as a Health Activist." 

Let me start with the challenge of the *Stigma* associated with many health conditions, especially an invisible disease such as diabetes. This *Stigma* can present itself in different ways,including people with diabetes not talking about it with anyone at all, personally and professionally. The *Stigma* may prevent some of those not currently diagnosed to get checked, even though they may be in a higher risk group. The *Stigma* also is causing waves in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) itself as we sometimes get sidetracked on the whole "Type" issue.

When we speak to our Friends, Fans, and Followers, the challenge of making sure that *Hope* is paramount when dealing with a life threatening medical condition on a daily...check that...HOURLY basis, as well as the dreaded co-morbidities associated with Diabetes. On a personal note, I have learned that all to well as of late. *Hope* is, and has to be, a multi-faceted aspect that should breed *Hope* among our Communities. *Hope* is an emotion that when fostered through positive interaction among our Friends, Fans, and Followers, reaps benefits that cannot be measured my Metrics or Pageviews or Website hits.

One of the other challenges I face personally when addressing our Communities is the *Separation* of how/what I do as a Caregiver in my Personal life, as opposed to how/what I do (and say) publicly as an Advocate. That may sound a bit hypocritical but let me explain. After almost nineteen years living with diabetes as my Wife's Caregiver, she know's her stuff & body a lot better than I do. I may know a bit more because part of what I do in my Advocacy work, is each week perusing nearly one thousand News articles, Education opportunities, and Research & Study findings, in order to stay up to date and informed as I carry out my Advocacy work. Sometimes as a Caregiver if I try to impress upon my Wife what I learn as an Advocate, I come across to her as the 'Diabetes Police' and things can get ugly.

The Prompt is to talk about three things, but allow me to quickly talk about another challenge that can be the most frustrating. The challenge of taking what we do as an Organization and what we present online, and getting people to take it to the Outernet (offline), and carry our Message & Mission forward to the masses, or what sometimes is called 'In Real Life (IRL)'. This challenge is very frustrating, but well documented, and is usually called "Slactivism". Don't get me wrong, I am just as guilty and it isn't really a negative thing, it is just that it is much easier for us as a Community to click a 'Like' button, digitally sign an online Petition, Copy/Paste to share, etc.

It may not be all 'Sunshine and Ice Cream', but I would never quit doing what I do, or what we collectively do as an Organization, because the satisfaction ALWAYS outweigh the challenges we face, because we have the humble honor of leading our Communities. Without our Friends, Fans, and Followers, we would be nothing.

T.R. Moore, Chief Communications Officer