A milestone partnership

Yesterday I was in Sydney for the launch of the Diabetes Australia and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) Partnership. It was big.  Over eighty people gathered to hear about the details of this milestone partnership, including CBA’s very own CEO, Ian Narev.

It’s big because not only is this the largest partnership that Diabetes Australia has secured on a national scale, but because we have been working for a number of months to make this a reality. This partnership will bring opportunities for Diabetes Australia; from connecting with Commonwealth Bank of Australia customers; to potentially incorporating a health and wellbeing program into their employee benefit scheme; and building our brand recognition to strengthen our messages.

A particularly exciting element of the partnership is our involvement in the Executive Manager Talent Program (EMTP). The program involves 36 key Executive Managers from multiple Commonwealth Bank divisions, who will apply their diverse skills and expertise to develop strategies for a selected community focused organisation – this year, it’s us!

The diabetes epidemic is one of global proportions and, as an organisation, we must continue to lead the efforts to tackle the burden of diabetes in new and developing ways. The reality is that we cannot do this alone. The EMTP launch was yesterday and I am extremely excited by the talent that will be working for our cause and the possibilities they will present to us next year. Having such a diverse team of experts thinking about new opportunities and developing a strategy will strengthen the foundations of Diabetes Australia and help to secure a brighter future for diabetes.

A highlight of the day was listening to Ian Narev speak about the values of leadership and integrity. He shared personal stories of his own leadership journey which took a dramatic change in direction when simply asked ‘Do you love your job?’ His story stressed the fundamental principles of passion, continuous professional growth, being true to your instincts, and the importance of having fun throughout your career.

A particularly interesting point was made around the concept of “followership” – people are not led, they follow. Understanding the different strengths and styles within your team to inspire following, rather than leading without reflection, is something I will endeavour to replicate in my own leadership style.

The partnership is also significant for DA–Vic in many ways too. DA–Vic will benefit from state-based activities and heightened recognition for the brand and cause. To top it off, we have received a significant donation to support diabetes and enable the delivery of more diabetes education and awareness programs.

Overall, this is an exhilarating time for diabetes at a national and state level and I am proud to be part of it.

If you have any questions or feedback about the partnership please leave your comments below.

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.

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$100m in 30 days – a fundraising dream comes to reality

So after a couple of weeks of waking up to celebrities, friends and colleagues pouring ice cold buckets of water over their heads, it would appear that the #ALSIcebucketchallenge is slowly drawing to an end.

But this is only after raising over US $100m in donations in a single month – a truly magnificent success! The fundraising and marketing industries will be examining this case study for months to try and pinpoint how to replicate this accomplishment, if possible?

But what I find most interesting is how much do those who participated and donated really know about the condition? Firstly, in Australia we know Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) as Motor neurone disease (MND). There is no difference; they are simply different terms to describe the same disease. Informing the Australian public by connecting the dots allowed MND Australia to overcome their first hurdle.

At DA–Vic we’ve had numerous conversations about how effective the challenge has been in terms of raising awareness and money, but has this planted a long term seed of knowledge around ALS?

Statistics released on Monday 8 Sept suggest yes. Visits to the ALS Wikipedia article increased almost 18 times in the UK and similar statistics across Europe and China. (Source: Forbes)

But that is merely visits to the page. Was the information digested? Do we understand what the disease is and its impact on those living with it? Working in diabetes, we all know how common it is for people to get confused about types of diabetes, attach stigmas and use the incorrect terminology. So let’s make a concerted effort to learn about ALS as we would want people to learn about diabetes.

In 12 months time, will this challenge be remembered for ‘when everyone threw a bucket of water over their head’ or ‘when $100m was raised for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis’?

A number of criticisms have arisen relating to the Ice Bucket campaign, but I would like to congratulate all involved – it is an achievement that I could only wish to touch in my career of fundraising for diabetes! It can’t go without acknowledging Peter Frates and his family and friends who started the challenge – his impact on ALS will remain a part of history and I wish him all the best for the future.

For those who don’t know:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease for the famous baseball player who died from it, is a condition that causes loss of voluntary muscle strength, causing weakness in the arms and legs, and creating difficulty with speech and swallowing. The average life span for someone with ALS is two or three years after the first onset of symptoms. After five years, the survival rate is 20 percent. Learn more: http://www.mndaust.asn.au

What are your thoughts on the ALS Ice bucket Challenge? Did you take part? I’d love to know what you think and if we could replicate a similar challenge for diabetes. Write your comments below.

To share your feedback and insights email membership@diabetesvic.org.au or join as a member of Diabetes Australia – Vic via our website.

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.

 

Posted in chronic disease, Diabetes, facts, fundraising | 1 Comment

Diabetes MILES Youth

Are you the parent of a child (aged 10 – 19 years) with diabetes? Then we need YOU! And your child with diabetes too.

You may remember that a few years ago now, the Diabetes MILES survey was conducted. Diabetes MILES looked at the psychological health of people living with diabetes, and the survey results continue to be collated and presented.

Now, a new study – Diabetes MILES Youth – is being conducted asking young people about what it’s like to live with diabetes, and how diabetes affects their wellbeing.

And because we all know that diabetes is a ‘family sport’, parents of kids with diabetes are also being asked to complete the survey.

The survey is only open until the end of September, so please take the time (about thirty minutes) to respond. (I know that you would get involved anyway, but as an added incentive, there’s an iPad to be won!)

Diabetes MILES and now Diabetes MILES Youth will actually show just how diabetes affects our lives on a day-to-day basis. The more we can talk about the psychosocial side of diabetes – the more evidence there is to show that diabetes affects our wellbeing – the more that diabetes stops being just a numbers game. (Although, in this case the number of people completing the survey is important, so get clicking!)

DISCLAIMER

Diabetes MILES Youth is part of the NDSS-funded Young People with Diabetes National Development Project of which I am the Project Manager. I’m writing about it here because I think it’s really important for as many people as possible to take part in this survey and have their voice heard.

The survey is being conducted by the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes.

Renza Scibilia is the Manager of Type 1 Diabetes and Community Programs at DA–Vic. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1998. The opinions and thoughts expressed in her occasional blogs are her own.

Renza blogs regularly at Diabetogenic about real life with type 1 diabetes and you can also follow her on Twitter @RenzaS

This post first appeared at Diabetogenic and has been published here with the writer’s consent.

Posted in children, chronic disease, Diabetes, Young people | Leave a comment

Diabetes is increasing, yet membership is on the decline – where are people accessing information?

Next month marks my four year anniversary at Diabetes Australia – Vic (Happy Work-iversary to me!) and in my time here I have seen some major changes, not only in the organisation but also in the diabetes landscape. Technology is rapidly developing and the industry is working to integrate these developments in their diabetes portfolios. Our organisation has also grown and changed, particularly as we look to present a united front for diabetes, but the biggest change is the number of people living with diabetes. Since I started, 400,000 Australians have been NEWLY diagnosed with diabetes and this upward trend is set to continue.

The latest statistics released from the NDSS show that the total number of Victorians living with diabetes as of 30 June 2014 is 282,214. That’s approximately 4.8% of the state population and means that 1 in 20 Victorians are now living with diabetes(!) It also means that our role at Diabetes Australia – Vic is increasingly important as we strive to connect, represent and inform the growing number of Victorians directly affected (not to mention their families and carers and health professionals).

Alarmingly, despite an increase in diagnosis, we are seeing a gradual decrease in membership – not only in Victoria but across the country. It begs the question, where and how are people accessing support and information?

Over the coming weeks and months I will be watching these figures closely. Although we have recently increased the benefits, discounts, events and services available to members, something more is clearly required. It’s my job to find out what this is and ensure that Victorians living with diabetes have access to the support that they want and need. It may be as simple as increasing awareness of diabetes or it may be as complex as changing the way in which we deliver support.

I encourage you, whether you are living with diabetes or indirectly affected to talk to your friends, family and colleagues about this. Help us to identify the change that is required and together we can shape the future of diabetes support in Australia.

To share your feedback and insights email membership@diabetesvic.org.au or join as a member of Diabetes Australia – Vic via our website.

Michael GoldmanMichael 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.

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The challenges of diabetes support around Australia

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

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.

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Reflections on Sweet 16 the movie

Eliza Nolan is DA–Vic’s Program Events Officer and also lives with type 1 diabetes. During National Diabetes Week she attended DA–Vic’s screening of Sweet 16: A journey into teen diabetes which made her reflect on her journey with diabetes.

sweet 16 27x40 FINAL print
This is a film worth watching. It’s worth watching if you have type 1 diabetes, it’s worth watching if you’re a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, it’s worth watching if you know a person with type 1 diabetes. It’s no action packed, rom-com, thriller, but an understated and realistic documentary into type 1 diabetes from a range of valuable perspectives.

What hit me most was the strain on the parents. This might seem strange considering how hard it can be to live with diabetes – I am a person with type 1 diabetes and it often batters me around. However, I loved this film and its insight because it showed the strain that this quite invisible condition puts on everyone, not just the person living with type 1.

It was also great to have some of my own feelings about diabetes articulated and mirrored it the film. Katia says two things that struck a chord with me. The first one I want to scream from the rooftop to everyone who has diabetes, of either type – if someone has a problem with you because you have diabetes, or an insulin pump, or do injections – you wouldn’t want them, and don’t need them, as a friend anyway! People who treat you differently because of your diabetes don’t deserve your company, their reaction reflects on them, not you.

The second thing that struck me from the film was the quote: “(diabetes) it’s so big, but you can’t see it.” Until quite recently I hadn‘t seen my diabetes as a big part of me. The older I get, the more I realise how it impacts on my health, mood, sleep, and overall life – it’s huge!  It penetrates every facet of our lives and does not go away. This is where I’ve found support and perspective is so important. In Sweet 16, Katia finds this support, love, personal acceptance and perspective through her admirable work overseas. It allows her to realise she is bigger than her diabetes, and in a number of ways she is, and all of us living in a well-developed country with a decent health system are, ultimately lucky.

This is just part of what the DVD opened up for me. It’s raw, real and at times awkward ‘protagonist’ really does the world a favour by opening up about her private experience. This DVD hits a niche market of people who suffer from a number of associated difficulties thanks to diabetes but also have the ability to live life to the absolute fullest (with a tad more planning).

It was wonderful to see the cinema packed out for DA–Vic’s Screening of Sweet 16. Support groups, diabetes camps and other ‘diabetes’ events are rarely about sitting and talking diabetes with other people with diabetes but this was about being in a space with people who inherently and utterly understand a part of you in a way that no one else can. There is a sense of belonging. This screening provided this space for attendees and their families, and I’m pleased to say that the feedback collected was glowing.

Watch the trailer:

Sweet16 documentary trailer from dan shannon on Vimeo.

Posted in children, Diabetes, Health, National Diabetes Week, stigma, Support, type 1, Young people | Leave a comment

Together we’re united for diabetes

NDW homepage banner sharkyNational Diabetes Week this year focusses on the prevention of type 2 diabetes through an interesting campaign. Diabetes Australia uses images to represent people’s irrational fears such as clowns, spiders and sharks and compared it to the real and hidden threat of diabetes. So it absolutely made sense that the launch of this campaign was done at the Melbourne Aquarium! Therefore, it’s only fitting that this post will feature happy shots from the aquarium!

Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia launching the new campaign.

Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia launching the new campaign.

Did you know that more than 2 million Aussies are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Some people may scoff at this. But when one in three people don’t even know they are already living with diabetes, it’s pretty scary.

20140716_102636

Is the prevalence of diabetes as scary as a huntsmen though? (no…um…yes…um…maybe?)

You can check your risk for type 2 diabetes at checkmyrisk.org.au. It’s important to note that this is not a direct predictor for developing (not contracting) type 2 diabetes. Even if you are at low or no risk, it definitely doesn’t mean you’re immune from it. Trust me, I know from experience!

Are lizards immune from diabetes too, I wonder?

Are lizards immune from diabetes too, I wonder?

Not being aware or looking after your diabetes can have serious implications. All the negative things associated with diabetes such as amputations and loss of sight becomes much more of a reality.

According to some, caring for your diabetes can be compared to looking after a child!

According to some, caring for your diabetes can be compared to looking after a child!

Diabetes isn’t all doom and gloom. The sooner you put things in place to manage your diabetes, the risk of complications generally reduces too. There are also increasingly more support networks for people living with diabetes. You are never alone.

No matter what your connection to diabetes is, you are not alone.

No matter what your connection to diabetes is, you are not alone.

This campaign is targeting those at risk of type 2 diabetes. But healthy eating and exercise doesn’t just benefit people with pre-diabetes. It benefits EVERYONE.

Don't ignore your weight!

Don’t ignore your weight!

National Diabetes Week, to me, means that we put side our differences to work together. We are here to help each other out. Together we are one voice to fight against the discrimination and the stigma that has been fanned by misinformation and through the media. Together, we are united for diabetes.

Together, we can make a difference!

Together, we can make a difference!

Ashley Ng, of Caufield, is 24 years young. Ashley was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, and blogs more regularly at Bittersweet Diagnosis. This post was re-blogged from Bittersweet Diagnosis after consent from the author.

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Ashley’s occasional blogs are her own.

Posted in Diabetes, National Diabetes Week, nutrition, obesity, physical activity, prevention, stigma, type 1, type 2, Young people | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment