Tag Archives: Diabetes Hands Foundation

Thank a diabetes friend this holiday season.

It seems like there’s a term for nearly every day during the holiday season. Thanksgiving, of course. Then there’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and now… Giving Tuesday.

Of all of these, I have the potential to like Giving Tuesday the most. I’m at the point in my life where all of the material things I want are relatively small.

I’m not a big “shop big on the holidays this year” kind of guy anymore. Not because I’m old. Not because I don’t want to open up my wallet this time of year, because I do. For both of us at home, it’s more about spending on others than on ourselves now.

I think the idea of giving of yourself this holiday season is something I can identify with and rally around. That’s where Diabetes Hands Foundation comes in.

Today, DHF will make it easy for you to show your appreciation for those who make our diabetes lives easier, happier, more meaningful. Go to diabeteshandsfoundation.org/thanks and share your message of thanks for those who have touched our lives.

For a five dollar donation to Diabetes Hands Foundation, you’ll be able to get a Thank You card that will be displayed on an online pinboard designed to promote positivity and gratitude during this season of wishes.

Want to find out more? Check out this lovely video:

The season of Thank Yous will continue through the end of the year. So in conclusion:

– Helping Diabetes Hands Foundation enrich the lives of People With Diabetes? CHECK.

– Thanking someone who deserves it? CHECK.

– Making people feel good? Helping to bring the diabetes tribe closer than ever? CHECK and CHECK.

This holiday season, remind someone how important they are to your life with diabetes.

Diabetes By The Numbers: Mike Lawson talks Big Blue Test.

Today begins one of my favorite times of the year. Every year, Diabetes Hands Foundation sponsors the Big Blue Test. Now until November 14 (World Diabetes Day), you and your loved ones, plus anyone else you know, are encouraged to get moving. And log the results. And help diabetes groups doing amazing work to build community and help others.

Here’s how it works: first, check your blood glucose. Not living with diabetes? Skip this step. Then get out and get moving for 14 to 20 minutes or more. You can walk, run, swim, bike, play badminton, ride a Big Wheel, whatever. Then do another BG check (or skip it if you don’t live with diabetes) and log the results at BigBlueTest.org. Or make it easy on yourself and download the Big Blue Test app on your iPhone or Android device, and do the same.

For the next month, every Big Blue Test logged will result in a $3.00(US) donation, split evenly among three wonderful diabetes non-profits:

Diabetes Sisters

We Are Diabetes

Riverside Community Diabetes Collaborative

Three fantastic organizations providing help, education, and support to those living with or at risk of living with diabetes.

Today, Mike Lawson, Senior Director of Programs and Marketing for Diabetes Hands Foundation, joins me to talk everything Big Blue Test, including a little about this year’s grantees, the goals for this year, and a new way for exercise groups to get involved in the Big Blue Test initiative. Have a listen, then click on the links below.

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Mike Lawson is Senior Director of Programming and Marketing for Diabetes Hands Foundation:

You can log your Big Blue Test Results at:

You can also log your exercise after downloading the Big Blue Test app on your iPhone or Android device.

Groups can sign up and log their group exercise activity by going to:

Don’t forget to share your Big Blue Test activity and follow others by using the hashtag:

Advocacy in the 21st Century.

Tuesday and Wednesday this week, over 100 people will attend the second MasterLab, presented by Diabetes Advocates and Diabetes Hands Foundation.
Get the agenda HERE.

They will hear from a number of advocates who have accomplished much, inspiring others and moving our cause forward in a variety of very big ways.

But what about the rest of us?

When I speak to People With Diabetes about diabetes advocacy, they almost universally say “I don’t see myself as an advocate”. They explain this by saying that they’ll never be able to do what so-and-so does, and while they do some things, they don’t really consider those things advocacy.

When people say this, I think they’re wrong.

In many ways, that’s the problem with how we view advocacy in our world: We tend to measure any advocacy we perform against the biggest feats of advocacy we’ve ever witnessed. If it doesn’t measure up to that, it’s not advocacy to us. To me, diabetes advocacy has a much broader definition. If it doesn’t, then I think I may need to get out of the advocacy business altogether.
Let me ask you:

Do you participate in the Diabetes Online Community? Have you learned anything from what you’ve seen, heard, or read?

Do you go to events where speakers talk about new drugs, new research, new technology? Have you ever read a book and learned something you didn’t know before?

Have you ever helped someone in your life understand better what it’s like to live with diabetes every day?

Have you ever written your elected officials to ask for better care, CGMs for persons on Medicare, or funding for diabetes research?

Have you met in person with another Person With Diabetes and just listened to them tell their story?

Have you shared your story, your successes and failures, with even one person? Even a family member or a significant other?

Have you ever offered a helping hand to someone in need of extra supplies, a replacement bottle of insulin, a spare CGM transmitter, or a shoulder to cry on?

Have you responded, truthfully and honestly, to someone who posted something about diabetes, whether it inspired you or pissed you off?

Have you just lived your life with diabetes the best way you know how?

To me, all of those things are advocacy.
You know, not all of us can raise thousands of dollars for research all at once. Not all of us can donate that kind of money all at once either. When someone tries to shame or stigmatize us, we can’t always get there first with the most anger. Not all of us can go on television or radio, or even a podcast, and bring our message to the masses.

But we are not helpless, and we are not alone, and we are not insignificant.

What we can do is learn. What we can do is share what we’ve learned. What we can do is support others doing the same, in large and small ways.

Because when we do even the smallest thing to advance our cause, we are advancing our cause. My guess is that you are making a difference.

My plea is that you continue to do so.

Care to share your story of advocacy? Leave me a comment below!

Scholarships: The application window is beginning to close.

I’ve mentioned this a lot before, but I’m going there again. That’s because time, as they say, is of the essence. In other words, time is running short. This is very important if you have a desire to get to big diabetes events this year, but you can’t necessarily pay your own way.

Are you a procrastinator?

That’s okay, as long as you don’t procrastinate past Friday.

Diabetes Hands Foundation and Diabetes Advocates has their application process open for candidates to receive scholarships to diabetes events this year. But applications will only be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (or 8:00 p.m. on the east coast) on April 3rd.

That’s this Friday, folks.

Scholarships will be awarded to cover travel, hotel, and conference registration for things like the American Diabetes Association’s 75th Annual Scientific Sessions, the two-day MasterLab advocacy workshop in July, the entire Friends For Life conference in July, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators conference in August.

Full disclosure: I received a scholarship to attend MasterLab last year, and it changed my life. I’m not applying for scholarships this year, so you have one less competitor!

DHF will award scholarships to advocates of all experience levels. Yes, that means you and me.

Let me say this again: You have until Friday to apply for these scholarships.

So… you need to do two things:

1) Take the Diabetes Advocates advocacy survey: CLICK HERE

2) Complete the application: CLICK HERE

To find out more about scholarships offered, and to get to these two links again, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, e-mail the always helpful Mr. Mike Lawson and he will tell you everything you need to know.

Now is the time. The application window is closing. If you otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to one or more of these events, I urge you: Apply for a scholarship.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

More disclosure: As evidenced by the button in the left column of this page, I am proud to say that I am a member of Diabetes Advocates. I get nothing in return for sharing all of this with you, except the possibility that your life will be forever changed too. Apply now.

Scholarships! Get your red hot scholarships!

This past Wednesday’s DSMA Twitter Chat was all about travel and diabetes. Actually, it turned out that travel and diabetes was part of it, and travel for diabetes was another part of it.

Anyway, one of our questions was:

Are you aware that there are groups who offer scholarships to attend diabetes events?

I was shocked to find out that many were not aware of this fact. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with those people. Rather, it means we, as a community, need to do a better job of letting people know about said scholarships and we need to do a better job of supporting those organizations who do award scholarships.

Every time a semi-big diabetes event occurs, or someone writes about their child with diabetes going away to a camp or something, a lot of hand-wringing goes on about who is there, and why, or how, they got there in the first place. Well, we get there a number of ways (and I realize I’m using “we” with a very big umbrella here). Sometimes these things are geographically close to us. Or we actually, you know, save our money so we can afford to get there. Some events are invitation-only and travel is paid for those who attend. And yes, sometimes, we receive scholarships.

I can’t do anything about those first three things. But as far as the scholarships are concerned: I can let you know about them, and then it’s up to you to either apply for them or not. And if you have a desire to go, and you can’t quite fit it into your budget, why wouldn’t you apply?

This is my attempt to give you a rundown of the scholarship opportunities I know about right now. This is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a start, and if you know of additional resources, please leave a comment below or send me an e-mail and I’ll add them. Some of these are actual scholarships to college for kids with diabetes, and some are scholarships that will help you or your child attend a diabetes event that you might not otherwise be able to travel to.


First, let me tell you about the amazing work of Diabetes Scholars. Since 2004, the non-profit Diabetes Scholars Foundation has provided scholarships for over 3,000 families to attend the big diabetes meetup of the year, Children With Diabetes Friends for Life conference in Orlando. Many of these families would not be able to go without the assistance of Diabetes Scholars. Diabetes Scholars also provides college scholarships to high school seniors looking to further their education. Get all the details on scholarship opportunities and the application process at
Speaking of college, College Diabetes Network has a terrific list of college scholarships available throughout the USA. These are scholarships that are available from a number of sources, but this page contains a brief description of each scholarship opportunity and a link to its source:
Diabetes Hands Foundation and Diabetes Advocates: These two non-profit orgs (DA is a group of, well, diabetes advocates under the DHF umbrella) provide scholarships to a variety of D-conferences throughout the year, including the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators conference, American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions, and Friends for Life. In addition, they created one day scholarships to attend MasterLab, a one-day advocacy workshop at FFL last year, and my guess is they will do the same this year (though I have no inside knowledge). To look into scholarship opportunities, start at
Disclosure: I received a scholarship from Diabetes Advocates to attend MasterLab last year. More about that in a minute.
The American Diabetes Association, in addition to support received from corporate sponsors (thank you Eli Lilly), helps to provide “camperships” for kids to attend diabetes camps across America. The process is pretty simple, and it’s spelled out at
The always-inspiring Team Type 1 Foundation works to provide help, hope, and awesome examples of athletes with Type 1 diabetes making a positive influence on the world. They also provide college scholarships to Type 1 athletes competing at NCAA and NAIA institutions. Their scholarship page has all the information, including requirements:


That’s the list so far. I know there are many, many more scholarship opportunities out there, but I just haven’t found them yet. Again, if you know about something not mentioned here, leave me a comment or an e-mail, and I’ll add it to the list.

One other thing, and this is personal, so feel free to ignore the rest of this post: As I mentioned above, I received a scholarship to attend MasterLab last year. A couple of months later (or maybe I just noticed it a couple of months later), I read a few things about a person or persons who were unhappy, and felt like the same people are always getting to go to important diabetes events. Well, I felt horrible about that. This was the only thing I’ve ever been given (other than an invitation) to attend a diabetes event. But since then, I’ve wondered if, by accepting a scholarship to attend, I was denying someone else’s opportunity.

So this year, I’m not applying for any scholarships. If I can afford to go to something, I will. If I cannot, I won’t, and I won’t worry about it. This is my decision, and my decision alone, and I doubt it will have any real impact at all. After all, I’m not exactly giving up something I’ve already been granted. And I can’t say that I’ll always feel this way. Each year carries its own concerns and priorities, and I may go back and apply for scholarships in 2016. But for this year, if you want to apply for a scholarship, know that you have one less competitor.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be completely absent from everything this year. I get a lot out of going to diabetes events… I learn a lot, which is something I feel I need, and I can’t discount the interaction that goes on among people I can call friends now. But hopefully, those people are still my friends whether I’m there in person or not. And the fact is, I don’t really attend a lot in person anyway, and a lot has been done over the past couple of years to help get content online for people who aren’t able to attend something in person. In the end, I have an admitted desire to go to everything I can get to. But if I don’t make it this year, it’s not the end of the world.

You? You should go. Educate yourself. Meet people. Form bonds. Ramp up your advocacy. And if you need a little help to get there, always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities.

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