I’m a little frustrated with how diabetes awareness month is being covered here in Charlotte. I know, I know. There’s a month for everything, no one has a full time health reporter anymore and I can just hear an EP saying, “We need to deliver real news that’s compelling to our audience.”
Lucky you, I’m here to help! I’ve worked in TV & radio in this town for more than 15 years and I know this audience. This town cares. Wants to help. Wants to learn. So, step it up, Charlotte media. Not sure how? Here you go:
Cover Reegan’s Rule. A first of its kind legislation in the nation. Passed in September and is now being considered by other states. This will affect every child born in North Carolina. Legit hard news out of the NC Leg. and you haven’t touched it. Now’s still a good time.
Profile the newly diagnosed 11-year-old, playing in her first soccer game since she left the hospital. Last week, she was worried about scoring. Now, she has to balance what she eats, how much insulin she takes and her activity. Her mom and dad cheer on the sideline, gripping insulin pens and glucose tabs, trying not to show her that they are scared out of their minds.
Talk to the young man who told his doctor that he wanted to be a pediatric endocrinologist when he grew up, “just like you.” His doctor said, “Sure, and if you do it, I’ll hire you.” They now work together, seeing the hundreds of kids in our area who need their help.
Learn about the man who lost his mother to diabetes last year and is now dedicated to raising money to send kids to life-changing diabetes camps. He’s got a great Panthers-themed fundraiser this weekend.
Introduce the teenager who is starting a mentoring program. He wants young kids with type 1 to see that it’s okay and even cool to wear the tech that keeps them healthy (like insulin pumps and CGMs) and he’s working to pair up high school students with younger kids.
Need more? Charlotte is full of amazing people with diabetes.
We have an Ironman triathlete, an woman with T1D who is a successful islet-cell transplant recipient (part of a clinical trial, she no longer needs to take insulin), an accomplished drummer and musician who says his T1D diagnosis saved his life as he is now a recovering alcoholic. There are ordinary kids like my son who just wants to play Minecraft and football but has pricked his finger more than 25-thousand times since he was diagnosed almost nine years ago. There are ordinary adults living with type 1 (that’s why they don’t call it “Juvenile” anymore).
Shine a warm light on the people here with type 2 diabetes, keeping silent this month because of the shame and blame. The jokes about #diabetes on social media and the accusations they brought it on themselves. Consider explaining what gestational diabetes is (and why we have to drink that gross orange soda while we’re pregnant).
Diabetes isn’t a rare illness. But it can be invisible. It can encourage isolation. We need to talk about it more. So c’mon, show us you’re truly On Your Side, The News Leader, & Looking Out For You
And if you can’t make a compelling story out of any of this, what are you doing in media?