Almost every day on our calendars commemorate or celebrate one thing or another. There’s a National Maritime Day, as well as an America Recycles Day, and even a Wright Brothers Day.
While some people may note those days, none of them compares in importance, scope, or fame as World Diabetes Day, an event observed worldwide on the birthday of Frederick Banting, one of the men who discovered the power of insulin in treating diabetes in the early 1920s.
First observed in 1991, World Diabetes Day was created when the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization, growing alarmed at the global spread of type 2 diabetes, decided there should be a day when people everywhere would focus on the disease.
Since then, World Diabetes Day has become one of this era’s most effective instruments in educating the world and increasing its awareness about a disease that some now call a pandemic.
One of the most powerful pushes World Diabetes Day has received was the 2007 resolution by the United Nations that declared it to be an official UN Day. This year World Diabetes Day will be celebrated in more than 160 countries and territories by the International Diabetes Federation’s 200-plus member associations.
Other diabetes organizations and associations, as well as HMOs, people with diabetes, and the people who love and care for them, will observe the day with events ranging from media coverage and sports events to workshops, exhibitions, and events for young people.
Living with diabetes is a hard task, but it’s one made a little easier knowing that today tens of millions of people worldwide are focusing on it and thinking about it. The attention feels great! Given the momentum that 22 years of observing World Diabetes Day has created, our hope is that someday it will be an occasion for celebrating the end of diabetes’ spread–and even its cure.
(For look back at some of our reportage on World Diabetes Day, go to http://digital.diabeteshealth.com/browse/06/06/0.html.)