As many of you may already know, I am a member of the Novo Nordisk International Diabetes Youth Panel. This past summer, I attended a summit meeting of the Youth Panel in Washington DC, where we were charged with raising world-wide awareness about a new campaign sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation called “Unite for Diabetes.” The aim of the campaign is to bring diabetes awareness and education to *1 billion *people around the world. We are also working to make our symbol, the blue circle, representing unity, internationally known as the new symbol for diabetes (along the same lines as the breast cancer pink ribbon).
So, what is the Unite for Diabetes campaign? Our goal is put diabetes on the *United Nations agenda*. Recently, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has sponsored a resolution that will highlight the needs of people with diabetes around the world, and establish 14 November as a UN-recognized *World Diabetes Day*. Both kinds of diabetes, type I and type II are devastating countries around the world, especially developing countries. Amazingly enough, though, most cases of type II diabetes (which accounts for 95% of all diabetes cases) could be *prevented* and easily *treated* through education and the right infrastructure.
Right now there are more than 230 million people around the world living with diabetes, and in fact diabetes kills more people each year than HIV/AIDS. And those numbers are only set to get worse – 1 out of every 3 children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetimes, with the predictions rising to 2 out of every 3 for indigenous populations. This has a direct relevance to those of us from Alaska, where a large percentage of our population is made up of Alaska native groups, which have staggeringly high incidence rates of type II diabetes. Also, the heaviest burden of these dramatic numbers is placed on developing countries, devastating lives and economies around the world. A UN resolution will help encourage and facilitate a positive change for the future.
Thus far, over *10,000* people have signed the official Unite for Diabetes petition to put diabetes on the UN Agenda. However, we still need to make that number grow, and encourage our United States ambassador to the UN to vote for the resolution.
For more information about the resolution, and to sign the official petition, go to www.unitefordiabetes.org. Also, once you’ve signed the petition, you can electronically “pass the pin” to your family, friends and peers.
Things are beginning to move very quickly with the resolution, so the more support we can gather in the next few days the better! Please forward this information on to anyone you know that may be interested, and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.