Why Aren’t There More People of Color at Diabetes Conferences?
I grew up in a small town in Northeast Georgia with a fairly large African American population, but a lot of the things I was interested in wasn’t popular with most of the black kids in my community. As a kid, I was usually the only black kid into something, whether it was band, 4H, or chorus.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes around 1989 when I was 25 years old. I had all the typical symptoms but didn’t think much of it, since I knew nothing about diabetes. Eventually, my roommate set me up with an appointment with the urologist (you read that right) who diagnosed me.
Back in my day, there was no Meetup or Myspace, and definitely no Facebook, so meeting others who lived with diabetes was pretty much a crapshoot. When I found a group, it turned out to be made up mostly of seniors; as a 25-year-old guy, that was not my idea of a party.
It would be many years before I found groups and organizations that helped people with diabetes connect and support each other. I basically had to wait until I had internet access to find these groups.
By the time I transitioned all my friends from Myspace to Facebook, I had my first insulin pump. I also had my first experience with diabetic retinopathy in one eye. By the time my other eye became damaged, I had begun taking my diabetes more seriously than I had in years past. I tried to learn more about how I could save my vision and my overall health.
Facebook helped me connect with several advocates, and others with diabetes. Through those connections I was able to learn more about the effects of diabetes, not just on Continue reading