First of all, let me say Happy Birthday to the GB diabetes online community. I know I'm a bit late so I suppose I should have said Happy belated birthday as it was actually yesterday, August 14th that was the official day.
I can't actually remember how long I've been a part of the GB diabetes online community; but what I do know is that it's been long enough to know that it is a community full of very wonderful people- who all share the same condition, diabetes.
It is a place where everyone interacts, be it diabetes advice, support, or just plain old conversations about everything and anything. The Wednesday tweet chats and games of BG bingo make it a place for fun, it encourages us all to be open about diabetes- it's no good bottling everything up. Everyone can rant and rave about whatever it is about diabetes that bugs them, or they can tweet the good blood sugars and praise the good days.
The GB diabetes online community is so diverse; so many of so many different ages. Some of those don't have diabetes, they are parents tweeting on behalf of their children- giving other parents with diabetic kids advice and support- then there are those of us with diabetes and we joke around and everyone is one big happy community despite all that we deal with.
These hands that I sit here and type this blog post with, or tweet about my blood sugar, or tweet anything for that matter; have been pricked and poked more times than they should have been in my entire life. So when I press 'tweet' and support comes flooding back I try not to dwell on the pain my hands have felt, or that my stomach has felt because I know there are millions of others out there who go through the exact same that I do and are all there for support at the end of a tweet or a blog post.
We all have so much to learn from one another and through twitter we can embrace the opportunities we have.
It's not even just the Great Britain online diabetes community, it is all of them. It is every diabetic community around the world, all such massive support systems. Together we make a phenomenal diabetes online community. It isn't even just twitter either- the support extends to Facebook, instagram, tumblr etc. I belong to and am administrator for along with another wonderful girl called Georgia a fabulous group called Type One Teens. I have met some brilliant people from this group and I couldn't thank Georgia enough for founding the group over a year ago- I joined when the group was relatively small, now there are over 300 of us.
Social media has so much potential when you use it in the correct way, it is amazing when it's not used for cyber bullying or for being horrible to people just for the sake of it because you're sitting behind a computer screen. Another brilliant thing has been the Google+ hangouts held by Diabetes UK on Tuesday evenings; there is a different topic for each week and it's really cool being able to put voices to faces.
I almost feel as though I owe the GBDOC a thankyou; simply because along with my family they have all been one of the main driving forces into my determination to get the word about diabetes out there. If I hadn't seen everyone on twitter with their blogs I don't think I would have ever been inspired into starting this blog, if I hadn't seen the outpour of outrage from some when they see a diabetes "fact" completely off then I don't think I would be so strong-willed in my quest to raise diabetes awareness and most of all, with all of the support and witnessing so many great achievers on the GBDOC- I don't think I would have had half of the courage that I did to stand up in front of so many people at the House of Commons and do the speech for Diabetes UK.
And that was one of the proudest days of my life so far.
So, thank you.
Thank you for being founded and thank you for being there for me, and for everyone with diabetes.
It's the best feeling in the world knowing you're not alone, we're all in this together.