Let’s March in May

Last month, hundreds of thousands of African-American women marched on Washington, D.C. in a show of solidarity. This followed on the heels of the Promise Keepers’ rally and the Million Man March two years ago. Each of these called for the participants to take a more active role in their own families and communities.

Newspapers all over the country picked up these stories. To a degree, it wasn’t so much the message as the number of messengers that helped these rallies gain so much media attention and made them so significant for the participants. Many participants didn’t even hear the speakers – it was the connection with others in their community which thrilled them.

Last week two brave souls on the internet, Ron Brenners and Sue Huson, announced a march that will take place in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on May 8, 1998.

All of us who are able should start planning now. Start saving and tell your boss you need a few extra days off that week. It’s something you can do for yourself and your loved ones with diabetes.

What are the issues we want to address? Finding a cure, the direction of money and research, finding better and cheaper ways to test our blood sugar, developing a hypoglycemia-proof insulin and getting all insurance companies to pay for strips and getting supplies to the needy who don’t have insurance are just a few of the issues I’d like to see addressed.

Lets gain inspiration from past marches for the future of diabetes advocacy. Call me idealistic, but borrowing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech – these are some of the hopes I have for the future:

I have a dream that some day diabetes will no longer be the 4th leading cause of death by disease.

I dream of a world where everyone gets the supplies and education they need to live, not just the rich or lucky.

I dream of a world where exercise and nutritional supplements get the same support as the latest pharmaceuticals.

… where we don’t have to fear that our driver’s license could be taken away if we share a hypo with our doctor.

… where we don’t have to pay six times the usual rate for life insurance and where health insurance is guaranteed.

… where babies and children don’t get diabetes.

… where insulin companies ask patients permission before pulling insulins off the market.

… where diabetics aren’t discriminated against.

I have a dream of all diabetics linking arms together and rejoicing in our strength, our conviction, our voice of solidarity. Diabetes doesn’t discriminate and neither will we. We’ll join hands with diabetics from every culture, every economic bracket and every age group in America.

This will be an extraordinary event, and I want to be there rubbing shoulders with all of you.

Please join the effort on May 8 in Washington, D.C., and don’t forget to wear your gray ribbon. Together we will make a difference.

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