Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Will social networking cure diabetes?

A couple of weeks ago a very wise woman (you know who you are) suggested to me that Facebook just might be the cure for type 1 diabetes, as well as many other diseases. At face value, that comment seems kind of silly. But you know what, I think she might be right!

My personal story

When my daughter was diagnosed 15 months ago with type 1 diabetes, I knew nothing. The doctors gave me basic instructions and sent us home. Being somewhat internet savvy, though pretty new to social networking, I went online. And holy moly! I found HUNDREDS of parents in the same boat as I! I asked a question, and I got ten amazing answers back. I learned 347 times more from other parents of kids with diabetes that I learned from the doctors - and I continue to learn something new daily. You know what this means? It means I have more knowledge, better and broader resources, and a place to ask questions 24/7. It means I have a healthier kid with better bloodsugar than I would have had if I'd tried to go it all on my own. It means that maybe, just maybe, keeping her healthier will make it easier to turn those cells back on or regenerate them once the scientists figure out how.

How can Facebook cure diabetes?
Okay, so that skinny insanely rich guy who started Facebook probably isn't sitting in a lab somewhere pouring over test tubes looking for a cure for Sarah (though that's kind of a cool picture). But social networking sites such as Facebook are opening doors to communication that have never existed before.

Think about it. We are a Force! Since I've been on the scene, I've seen how well people with diabetes and parents of kids with diabetes rally. Voices from our community have been there when magazines, blogs, newspapers, and talk shows get it wrong. We've demanded apologies, corrections and retractions - and gotten them! Through the social network, I learn about new treatments, successes and failures in research, stories of hope and despair, and new treatments. I learn about it nearly in real time!

Think about...how...powerful...that...is!

And we aren't the only ones on the social network. Scientists and researchers are people too, and through these same means, they are becoming more connected. Email was a great invention - but the social network is like a constant steam of ideas that flow nearly as fast as thought. It's an ongoing conversation. Researchers from India, China, the U.S, Canada, the U.K., and Tinbuktu can all communicate in real time - and just because we can't see it doesn't mean it's not already happening. Just as we share ideas for better care of our kids, they can toss ideas and theories back and forth.

Additionally, social networking is resulting in accountability. When a mistake is made, it's not only news to those few people who happen to read that medical journal or watch that show - it makes the network, and travels around the globe at warp speed. As steps are made towards a cure, we know about them. We know who is involved, and we know which companies are making strides. We know who to thank, who to support, and who to criticize.

We are an ARMY and diabetes is our war.

Together we fight

Together we will win!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent writing! You are right on! Together we will win!


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