Gregg Popovich, coach of my favourite basketball team, the San Antonio Spurs, has famously stated:
“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
Popovich calls this “Pounding the Rock”. For me, diabetes is that rock. It’s a complicated condition, a massive political issue, and enormously complex. With the exception of a magical cure appearing, diabetes signifies something that we need to keep chipping away at to make a difference. Chipping away at issues that will impact, bit-by-bit, issue-by-issue, on the overall issue of diabetes in this country.
As a young(ish) person with diabetes, my approach is that we need to continually pound the rock until it starts to crack. Once it starts to crack, the rock starts to split. And progress is made.
On Monday I was lucky enough to pop along to the launch of the Diabetes Australia Young Leaders Program, held in Melbourne. Renza has blogged about this on the Diabetes Australia – Victoria page. This program is pretty damn cool, and I’m happy to say I’m involved in it. It will provide young people (aged 15-29 – I still fit within this category….just) with the opportunity to provide input and advocate on particular issues that affect them and their life with diabetes, together with the support of Diabetes Australia.
I was invited to speak at the event, but unfortunately had to decline because I wasn’t sure if I was able to get there with my slightly hectic schedule at the moment. In the end, I was able to pop along very briefly and the speakers were exceptional. As I tweeted during the event, the program is in a very safe collective pair of hands based on the people that spoke so passionately and directly about their diabetes in front of some pretty important people, including, but not limited to:
- Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia,
- Craig Bennett, CEO of Diabetes Australia – Victoria
- Richard Di Natale, Federal Greens Senator
- Georgie Crozier, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health
- Guy Barnett, Former Federal Liberal Senator
For too long, young people have been unfortunately absent from the policy debate around diabetes. Not necessarily by fault or design, but just one of those things that has happened. Kudos must go to the people at Diabetes Australia that have conceptualised and implemented this initiative.
The Diabetes Australia Young Leaders Program can be a strong catalyst for change in this country around how all forms of diabetes are represented, and what tangible changes are required to improve the quality of life of all Australians living with diabetes. Part of that includes a national diabetes strategy, but just as important, is the fact that people with diabetes have a collective, supported voice.
Let’s use it.