Saturday, November 5, 2011

Whiteboard Advocacy

Every little bit counts.

I thought I'd tackle advocacy on a very small scale at work. I mentioned before that I was armed with a whiteboard at work, and would share my messages, which I'd been doing.

Admittedly, it's been rather hit and miss, but I've been trying to share just something - counting down the days to World Diabetes Day, a myth buster fact or two, and most recently, the addition of info about the Big Blue Test, encouraging co-workers to participate.

My mini advocacy compaign, posing with my white board
(and obviously participating in Wearing Blue on Fridays and wearing my Blue Circle necklace
for Diabetes Awareness)

To be honest, I thought no one was listening. Co-workers would walk in and out of my office with nary a glance at my board, or so I thought. Until I was too busy to post a different fact for a few days (just doing the countdown).

Thomas:  So, aren't you doing it anymore?  
Me:  What? 
Thomas:  The diabetes thing on the whiteboard.  
Me:  You noticed?! (with a genuinely surprised tone)
Thomas:  Yes, and you haven't added anything new. My Dad has diabetes, you know.  
Me:  Oh, I didn't know and I didn't think anybody noticed it, but I'm glad you did. What kind of diabetes does your Dad have?  
Thomas:  I don't know. 

And so the conversation went, more or less. I continued asking him a few questions which were inspired by his, "I don't know"... like was he on insulin or meds (meds) and further educated him that it would be Type 2 diabetes, and so on and blahdeblahblah.

So Thomas learned something, and so did I. Thomas now had some insight into his father's condition, and I also had some insight into what my little whiteboard might be contributing to my work community.

If I can just help one person... another person... I've done my job, and this advocacy thing, as humble as it is, is worthwhile.

If one, two or even more can learn something about this disease, and the pervasiveness of it in our lives, in our loved ones lives, and the health and economic impacts of diabetes around the world, I've done my bit (for now anyway). All starting with my whiteboard.

Whiteboard advocacy may not be a big thing, but what I have learned:

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
                                                                                                              ~William James

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