Awareness is Not Enough

You know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Everyone will be talking, wearing, and painting Des Moines “pink”, as well as donating money, and walking for “The Cure.”

I wonder if people are going to do the same thing next month for American Diabetes Month.  Will they be wearing blue and raising awareness for that?

Several weeks ago, my friend Jesse Gavin wrote an insightful entry on his blog “No, It’s Iowa”.  He feels that everyone has “gotten the message” about breast cancer and asks if anyone is “aware” about the other diseases and illnesses like colorectal cancer or mental health?

On Tuesday, the local news stations talked about how the nurses at Iowa Methodist are wearing pink gloves.  On Wednesday, the American Marketing Association Iowa chapter had a lunch presentation and 50 % of the proceeds was donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Do you know what this ribbon represent?

Did you know that Tony Lemmo of Cafe di Scala participated and raised money for the NAMI walk last weekend?  Were you aware that the American Diabetes Association had their annual walk last month?  You never heard about Amanda the Panda?  The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Abuse has been in the news lately due to a ruling allowing criminal defendants more access to confidential mental and medical health records of their alleged victims.

No, you haven’t.  Why?  Despite their efforts to spread awareness and reach out to those who are directly affected, everyone in Des Moines see”pink” as the cool thing right now.

Not everyone has been affected by breast cancer, or know of someone who has it.  But, since everyone knows about The Race for the Cure, it’s easy to support it.

Amanda the Panda is looking for volunteers and support.

As someone who is a volunteer and a board member for a local non-profit, it’s disheartening not to find widespread support from the community when one major non-profit group is gets all of the love, publicity, and talk.  I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I made the decision this year not to ask my family or friends to get involved to raise money and support the organization I’m passionate about.  The last three years, I have asked for support, interest, and told my story about being a diabetic.

No one cared. No one was interested.

I’ve been a good solider in the past and offered my support to many friends and their causes throughout town, but they can’t return a small favor?  It hurts.  And I’m angry.

I’m not angry with Komen.  They are doing their jobs just like I am:  bringing awareness to a disease or illness that people should know about.  I’m angry with the community and the mindset of if they go jump on board with the biggest walk in Des Moines every year, it’ll make them feel good about themselves.

Children's Cancer Connection

There are groups like the Children’s Cancer Connection, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Association, and others who need that type of support as well.

I know I would love to have more people care about finding a solution to end diabetes.  Iowa Hawkeyes defensive coordinator Norm Parker had his foot amputated due to long-term complications of diabetes.

I could be the next person to lose his foot.  Please, consider helping other groups in Des Moines.  The Komen walk should not be the only thing you can donate and invest your time and efforts in.

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