I spent the end of last week in Perth, WA and it was a particularly memorable trip for me. Firstly, after almost 4 years I can say that I have visited each of the state institutions of Diabetes Australia. But secondly, I now fully understand the challenges that those living in rural and outback locations face, primarily due to limited access and support.
Western Australia occupies 2.5million square kilometres with a density of 0.95 people/km² – that’s less than one person per square kilometre! The sparse density of the state makes challenging work for Diabetes WA to ensure that everyone affected by diabetes has the access to the support they need. I admire the work that they do to make sure that they can help as many people as possible through communications and supply.
The reason for my business trip was to attend the FYI Series 2014 Corporate Lunch, held at a Kings Park in Perth. It was a gathering of over 250 individuals, from commercial relationships to support group leaders – it was a real diabetes community!
I was there to represent the Victorian arm of Diabetes Australia and was joined by other key leaders in the Australian diabetes community – National CEO Greg Johnson, DA-NSW CEO Sturt Eastwood and Diabetes Australia’s President, The Hon Judi Moylan. It was an excellent opportunity to listen to the key note speakers and to help raise awareness of diabetes amongst these groups. I left, as I often do on work trips, feeling empowered to make a change. The gathering of these people in one room demonstrated the interest and determination to raise awareness of diabetes across Australia. Diabetes is a huge health burden that I (and all of you reading this blog) are at the centre of vehicle to drive change because we know the facts. We care. We want to shape the future.
I hope that all those who attended the lunch also left feeling passionate and determined to make a difference. They can start in many ways, whether it is checking their risk of type 2 diabetes (http://www.checkmyrisk.org.au), encouraging friends and family to do so, or making a donation to Diabetes Australia. Together, we can reduce the impact of diabetes.
Michael Goldman is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Diabetes Australia – Vic. You can follow him on Twitter @MGoldman_ the thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are his own.