By: Meagan Esler
I recently learned of a JDRF campaign to increase type 1 diabetes awareness, in which people without diabetes can sign up to experience “virtual diabetes” for a day. During that day, they receive up to 24 texts prompting actions that simulate the frequent blood sugar testing, insulin injections, and dietary choices that people with type 1 diabetes must endure. JDRF thoughtfully notes on its website that “while no virtual campaign can re-create the many needles required or the physical and financial tolls of this serious disease, T1D for a Day seeks to deepen understanding of the many heroic steps our friends and loved ones with T1D take each day.”
To my surprise, my 16-year-old son offered to sign up. My heart melted at his interest. When he went on to say he’d happily do it at school to experience how difficult my life is when I’m juggling work and life in general, I was touched beyond belief. Before he signs up, we’ll need to check with his high school to see if he may keep his phone on to receive the texts and if they’ll allow him to eat in class to correct a simulated low blood sugar if necessary. But no matter what happens, in my book it’s the thought that counts.
My husband has already signed up, and his day with type 1 diabetes will be November 1. I give him lots of credit for supporting this mobile-based challenge. Since he’s been with me through over 15 years of my diabetes, he is no stranger to testing his blood sugar to test out a new lancet device for me. But I may see if he’s up to a fake insulin injection, with a real syringe minus the actual insulin, just for added realism.
To sign up, simply text T1D4ADAY to 63566. You will receive a confirmation text that completes your registration. You can also sign up by visiting the JDRF website at http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=117942. The campaign goes from November 1 through November 29.
I’ll be sure to let you know how this goes by sharing my family’s experiences as they complete their day with diabetes. I’ll never forget their continued support and encouragement throughout my life with diabetes. Their willingness to go the extra mile by participating in a simulated day in my life is absolutely the icing on the cake (and I’m more than happy to teach them to accurately count the carbs in that cake).