On Tuesday, I ran the Our Diabetes Twitter account. With Diabetes Awareness Month just around the corner, I decided to talk about advocacy. The very last question I asked was the following:
Do you consider yourself to be an advocate?
A number of the responses to this question can be summed up with one word: No.
Don't get me wrong, there were some people that responded saying yes, but I didn't feel like "yes" was the majority.
But here's why it should have been. (In my opinion, at least!)
It doesn't matter how big or small your act of advocacy is, what ever effort you make means that, in my eyes, you are an advocate.
If you write a blog, you are an advocate.
If you take part in discussions online, such as the Our Diabetes chat or the GBDOC chats, you are an advocate.
If you talk to your local MPs, or write to them, about diabetes-related issues, you are an advocate.
If you give talks at conferences, you are an advocate.
If you give talks in your local community, you are an advocate.
Hell, if you just give a talk diabetes with the person that sits at the desk opposite you at work, or someone who asks what you're doing when you check your blood sugar, you are an advocate.
If you tweet about your diabetes, or write a Facebook status, or post a picture on Instagram of something diabetes-related, you are an advocate.
If you correct a comment, or speak up about a stigma, you are an advocate.
I used to think that to be considered an advocate, you should do something HUGE (all caps), but I no longer believe that to be the case. It doesn't matter how small or insignificant you feel your act is, it matters. It all matters. You are an advocate. And for that, I thank you.