Written for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner paper recently…
To the editor,
Over four years ago, while a student at West Valley High School, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Ever since then, I have worked as a youth advocate for diabetes awareness. Now, as a college student, I am a US representative for the Novo Nordisk International Youth Panel for diabetes advocacy.
The panel of twenty youths representing the thirteen countries around the world, is working to raise global awareness for the campaign to put diabetes on the United Nations agenda. The campaign, called “unite for diabetes” aims to create a World Diabetes Day on November 14th, and to stem the tide of the growing diabetes epidemic world-wide. More information on this landmark resolution can be found at www.unitefordiabetes.org.
In 2005, over 300 million people worldwide were documented as living with diabetes. With current trends, that number will only grow. A deadly disease, over 3 million deaths annually are diabetes-related. In the United States, one out of every 10 health care dollars is spent on diabetes, while 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes. And, although Alaska may seem a remote corner of the world, diabetes is not just an issue facing the world at large, but also occurs in our community as well. By learning about the disease, and motivating our society to live the healthy lifestyle required to prevent type 2 diabetes, these numbers can show a positive change for the future.
Diabetes advocacy is not limited to youth panel members alone! Every person, regardless of whether or not they personally have diabetes, can be a diabetes advocate. You can help win the global fight against diabetes by lending your personal support to the “unite for diabetes” campaign (www.unitefordiabetes.org), by talking with friends, family and lawmakers about diabetes, and by preventing type 2 diabetes from developing in your own life. This is entirely possible through eating right and living a healthy and active lifestyle. Through individual choice and action, we can all conquer the diabetes pandemic together!
To learn more about diabetes, visit the website, or talk to the local Fairbanks Diabetes Center.
Kelly Dayne Hansen, member, Novo Nordisk International Youth Panel