Spare a Rose

Spare_a_Rose_smallA few years ago, the little brother of the girl who worked at my grandma’s house in Colombia got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 7. I immediately started asking my mom questions about what they were going to do, and if he was getting the insulin and blood glucose testing supplies he needed. I remember I was almost in tears when she said that they had to go to the local diabetes association almost daily to try to find strips because they were so expensive, they couldn’t get all of them at the pharmacy.

I thought how unfair, that a child is diagnosed with diabetes and because his family is struggling, they have to practically go beg for testing strips. I was scared for him and for his family. It would break my heart not to know how my child was doing after a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I know it took a while for them to figure things out, but eventually they reached that point of good enough control. However, the testing strips ordeal is something they have to live with month by month, and I highly doubt they’re getting the education they need about the condition.

The first time I attended the Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit, I was having a conversation with David Edelman and Manny Hernandez about  things we could do to help children in developing countries. I had no idea they had something in the works, and the next year a whole campaign was launched with great success. The president of the International Diabetes Federation shared the good outcome of the Life for a Child program, and it made me very happy that we were part of its success.

But it’s never enough… it will never be enough as long as there are countries in need. So today I’m sharing this great initiative by Diabetes Advocates called “Spare a Rose, Save a Child.

“Spare a Rose, Save a Child” is simple: buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and share the value of that flower with a child with diabetes in the developing world. Your loved one at home still gets flowers and you both show some love to someone across the world who needs it.

Please pass this around and use the URL: http://bit.ly/SpareRoseSaveChild to link to the IDF site.

Just $1 a day provides a child with:
• regular insulin
• quality blood glucose monitoring equipment (meter, strips, lancets)
• essential clinical care
• up-to-date diabetes education materials
• specialized diabetes training for medical staff

This Valentine’s Day, we can both share our care for loved ones at home and give a little help to those we have some much in common with around the world. We hope to connect our love for our families to helping other families keep their loved ones alive. It is a simple, caring, but life-changing message. And it shows that the diabetes online community takes care of one another, both online and off.

Thank you, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

The Smartness of Ginger.io

ginger.io-screens-dec12A couple of weeks ago I read a post on Scott Johnson’s blog and I got curious about this new mobile platform called Ginger.io. It is a behavioral analytics platform that turns mobile data into health insights, which basically helps your health care providers have a better understanding of how your health, mood and activity go. I signed up for it, and Peter Smith asked me if I would be so kind to write about it on my blog.

I started using Ginger.io about 10 days ago. I get a reminder every day to record how my mood was, and I’ve gotten a couple of other questions. The mood thing is really insightful for me because I have a history of depression. By recording how I felt the previous day, I can get an idea of what was going on in my life and identify if the cause of my mood was external or not. What I’ve found is that I’m usually in a pretty good mood these days, which means my depression is under control and everything else goes well with me. I’m motivated, fearless (within healthy limits) and confident —all this impacts my diabetes management.

[One] of the most innovative, data-driven and human-centered concepts aimed at helping people living with diabetes.
—Data Design Diabetes

There is a lot to learn about behavioral science and how it can help patients to manage their conditions when they’re outside their doctors’ office. I think Ginger.io is a great tool for that. The way we feel will have a repercussion in what we do when it comes to chronic conditions that require constant care, and I believe giving our health care providers an idea of how we feel every day will give them the tools to develop better health management programs that don’t look like something taken out of a vending machine.

Self-tracking may provide a glimpse of the future of health care, based on monitoring and prevention.
—The Economist

If you’re concerned about privacy, worry not. All shared data is aggregated and anonymized. Give it a try, you’ll find it interesting. And I think it’s an amazing tool for diabetes management.