As a part of a campaign to change the course of diabetes for good, insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk A/S generously sponsors an International Youth Panel where youth representatives from around the globe come together to share ideas and resources about raising awareness about diabetes.
The panel was initially formed in spring 2005, and recently met on 7-8 June 2006 in Washington DC to discuss some exciting new advances in diabetes advocacy. Currently, the panel of sixteen youth representing the US, Canada, El Salvador, Brazil, Denmark, the UK, France, Spain, Holland, Jordan, Australia, Russia and China, is working to raise global awareness for the campaign to put diabetes on the United Nations agenda. The campaign, called “unite for diabetes” was initially created by 20-year-old Clare Rosenfeld, an advisor to the panel, and aims to create youth awareness around the world about the growing diabetes epidemic.
The youth panel also has the goal of empowering its members to work in their home countries to raise awareness about the diabetes epidemic, and about prevention efforts for type 2 diabetes (which is increasing rapidly among today’s youth).
I first became involved as one of the United States representatives for the panel in 2005 after participating in a book project sponsored by Novo Nordisk called “Young Voices: Life With Diabetes.” Four of us from the book: Erik Dunham, another US representative, Clare Rosenfeld, the inventor of the UN resolution, our friend Dan Tolle, and I attend school together at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where we work to raise awareness about diabetes on the local level.
Diabetes advocacy is not limited to youth panel members alone! Every person, regardless of any factor (even 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 speaking to 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!
Kelly-Dayne Hansen, Youth panelist