With the recent impact of Hurricane Harvey on the residents in, and around the Texas landfall, the question always comes up, “What can or should be done to help those with diabetes?”
Not every natural disaster is on par with Hurricane Katrina—and a full-fledged relief effort doesn't always need to be implemented immediately. Helping is always good and how each person chooses to help is clearly up to him. But resist the urge to spring into action. Having a little knowledge about the relief organization is important.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army are typical go-to's in times of crisis and both groups are crucial for relief during natural disasters, too. During Hurricane Katrina, when I was with dLife, we spearheaded getting a minimum of two month's worth of diabetes supplies to 10,000 people in the most impacted parishes of Mississippi and Louisiana. I learned through this experience that these two, well-established and revered organizations deal with lives—saving and protecting lives—before anything else. This means shelter, food, warmth, sleep. This is their focus and it makes sense.
Disease-specific relief needs of chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma fall under ‘health needs’ as a general effort; not a specific priority. There are just not enough hands for these organizations to tend to every need. So my thinking is that it's more important to work with a group who handles diabetes-specific needs all the time in times of need. A group experienced in collecting and distributing who collects supplies and distributes them is Insulin for life-USA.
Insulin for life is the expert in collecting and distributing diabetes supplies as needed. As needed is a very important phrase because if someone does not do her homework completely and merely chooses to send supplies to one location in an impacted area, that location could be inundated with supplies to the point of over saturation. Now clearly we hope that should that happen, the entity would not waste resources but rather re-distribute them appropriately. But will we know for sure? With Insulin for Life you are not taking any chances because THEY KNOW.
Today's super mega highway of social media is so much more impactful in the lives of those affected by Harvey in 2017, than it was during Katrina in 2005. A fine example of how to help when you do not have boots on the ground is clearly what Project Blue November (look for it on FB) has done. They have a large outreach and they did just that—reached out and advised people what they could both do to help and where to turn. The strongest leaders are not those who do it all, but rather point people to the ones who can get the task at hand done. Kudos to this grassroots-run FB page.
Omnipod Senior Director of Advocacy and super-diabetes advocate Alissa Heizer-Mendoza, CDE, who was smacked twice to hurricane homelessness from both Hurricanes Irene AND Sandy, and knows a thing or two about helping adds, “My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I want to share that Insulet has provided outreach via social media and please encourage any Podders needing supplies to contact our customer care team # at 800-591-3455. Our local representatives in those areas will also have additional supplies.”
So you can help and these are wonderful places to turn...now...today…to help. Do it.
I am a DiabetesDad.