We’re smack dab in the middle of November, and that can only mean one thing – Diabetes Awareness Month is in full swing. While we at Timesulin encourage everyone to stay active in supporting their favorite Diabetes organizations year round, we know that can be difficult. We do, however, hope that we can convince you to go out of your way to do a little something extra this month.
We’ve noticed in talking to people that one of the reasons they don’t volunteer their time or donate money to diabetes organizations is simply because it’s so hard to choose who to give to. Obviously, we all want to make our donations count as much as possible, but most of us don’t have the time to sit down and compare all the great diabetes associations, organizations, clubs, and awareness programs out there. That can make it difficult to give.
To make the process easier, we’re sharing our five favorite diabetes organizations that you can support with your time or money this month. All of these organizations have a long history of providing meaningful help to people with diabetes, are financially and operationally transparent, and are trusted by others in the diabetes community. While they all have the same goal – eliminating the condition we struggle with – they all aim to do it in slightly different ways, leaving you with choices about what kind of programs you would like to support. If you can, do a little bit for all of them. If not, do a little bit for one. Thanks!
International Diabetes Federation
The International Diabetes Federation is an umbrella group for hundreds of diabetes organizations across the world. It was founded in 1950 and has been growing and expanding to cover more countries every year, with the total now standing at 200 national diabetes associations across 160 countries.
At Timesulin, during the month of November, we’re specifically supporting the Life for a Child program within the IDF with our own campaign [link to campaign page for IDF] to raise money and awareness. For every unit sold during the month, we’re going to be donating £1 to help children with diabetes in developing countries.
The mission of the IDF is largely the same as all diabetes organizations (in their own words): to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. (Disclosure: I’m a little biased about this organization because I serve as a faculty member for their Young Leaders Programme). Unlike many of the other organizations we’re going to talk about, though, they operate at a much higher level, and work on the global level. Instead of direct intervention in individual nations, they work to coordinate efforts across the world, as well as to directly lobby international organizations like the WHO and the UN. They also plan, organize, and sponsor World Diabetes Day activities and events.
How many diabetes organizations can trace their roots to 1934? Not many, certainly, and fewer still can claim to be co-founded by legendary author HG Wells. Diabetes UK, which was founded as the Diabetic Association, can do both. Currently, it’s the largest organization promoting and championing the causes of diabetes awareness, management, and treatment, and one of the largest sponsors of diabetes research, in the UK.
The great thing about donating to Diabetes UK is that they always have so much going on that you can always find a great activity to donate your time to that meets everything you’re looking for in volunteer work. They can match you up with local or national events, and work with you to find you a role that you would excel in. Also, they won partner of the year for us last year!
Even if you don’t want to specifically do volunteer work, Diabetes UK can get you supporting their cause through programs like Run For Diabetes, a fundraising opportunity for people already entering the London Marathon.
JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)
Founded in 1970 as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF rebranded itself over the last decade since over 85% of people with Type 1 Diabetes are no longer juveniles. Since the 1970’s, JDRF has been heavily pursuing research for management and treatment of Type 1 diabetes. Currently, they oversee, fund, or coordinate research projects going on in 17 different countries.
Unlike many other diabetes organizations and associations, JDRF focuses exclusively on Type 1 Diabetes (even including a stealthy T1D in their logo). The organization is dedicated to the eventual eradication of Type 1 Diabetes, and the mitigation of the impact diabetes has on those living with the condition until a cure is found.
World Diabetes Foundation
The World Diabetes Foundation is the youngest of the charities we’re looking at today, having been founded in just 2002. It’s also unique in that it is one of the few diabetes organizations that specifically looks to improve diabetes awareness and treatment in the developing world, rather than in developed nations. To that end, it is far more active in advocacy campaigns, as well as in making the management of diabetes cheaper and more accessible, rather than in specifically curing the disease (though that is still part of the mission).
The World Diabetes Foundation offers the least volunteer opportunities of all the organizations we talked about, but does provide funding for important projects and research. They also have a World Diabetes Walk on World Diabetes Day to raise awareness of Diabetes in developing nations.
Diabetes Hands Foundation
Founded in 2008, the Diabetes Hands Foundation is a great organization that runs a number of programs for the DOC. TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes are two of their more well-known programs, and are essentially social networks for people to meet and interact with others who have T1D.
They also run the Big Blue Test program, which stresses the importance of exercise for people with Type 1 Diabetes by encouraging people to upload and share their blood sugar levels before and after exercising to demonstrate how being active helps keep blood sugar lower. Started in 2009, the program is still going strong and has grown year over year with over 23,000 participants last year.