Today is the last day of Invisible Illness week! I had the pleasure of being able to interview Kerri from Six Until Me (see also: creator of the #KerriPower hashtag we use when doing awesome things together!) about life with diabetes and being an amazing advocate for people with diabetes. Kerri is also the reason that I have so many awesome friends in the Diabetes Online Community [yay #KerriPower!]
Me: Hi Kerri! I’m so stoked to have you here sharing your perspective! YAY FOR KERRI POWER! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Kerri: Hi back to you, Kerri! (Nice name you have there.) I’m really honored to be hanging out on your blog today. I usually blog over at my diabetes blog, www.SixUntilMe.com, where I write about life with type 1 diabetes, my goofy little daughter, my husband, and those three cats that somehow ended up living in my house. It’s a potluck of chaos.
You’re a pretty elite and FAMOUS diabetes blogger :] — how did you get started in the blogging world?
Awww, you are way too nice! I started blogging back in May of 2005 at the prompting of my then-boyfriend/now-husband. I had been talking to him about Clara Barton Camp (a summer camp just for girls with type 1 diabetes) and explaining how I missed that feeling of knowing other people who had diabetes, too. He told me about this mysterious “blaaaahging” thing, and I decided to give it a go. I posted my first post on May 4, 2005 and I found other diabetes bloggers almost immediately. And then other people with diabetes found me. From there, it got kind of crazy, because now there are hundreds of people who are blogging about their diabetes or the diabetes of someone they love, and suddenly I’m not at a loss for people who also don’t make their own insulin. It’s nice, having a community that really gets it. I’m honored to be part of this.
What kind of impact has the Diabetes Online Community [DOC] had on your own perspective on living with and managing your diabetes?
The DOC has confirmed for me that I’m not alone. Managing diabetes is one thing, but feeling like you’re the only person on the planet who has to do it is really isolating and depressing. Finding this community has made me feel more confident that there is a good life to be had, even after a diabetes diagnosis. There are so many people with diabetes who are doing incredible things – and incredibly normal things – that I feel inspired and empowered by this community every, single day.
It’s evident that advocacy for people with diabetes is important to you. What’s your favourite advocacy moment story? [I know it could be a tough one!]
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of mainstream media examples of people with diabetes. The only one I knew of was Julia Roberts’ character in Steele Magnolias, where she’s a woman with diabetes who decides, against the advice of her medical team, to have a child. Long story short, her character has a baby and then dies soon-thereafter from diabetes complications. This was my mental image of a woman with diabetes who wanted to have a baby. Now, after several years of planning, more hard work than I could imagine, and one very closely-monitored pregnancy, I have a healthy and happy 17 month old daughter. Blogging about my pregnancy is one of my proudest moments because I hoped to be an example of hard work equalling a healthy outcome.
What kind of advocacy projects are you currently involved with?
I write daily on SixUntilMe, and I try to keep it raw and honest because I want to share what life is really like with type 1 diabetes. I also speak regularly at diabetes and healthcare conferences, and I’m currently hard at work on a big project that will be announced next year … so stay tuned! 🙂
You’ve had diabetes for a long time, but has having diabetes brought you anywhere that you’d never have imagined?
These advocacy opportunities have me speaking about diabetes to the CEOs of companies, and to government officials in Washington. I’ve traveled the country on a platform of humor and honest advocacy, honored to be speaking at different health-related events. And in December, I’ll be headed to Dubai, UAE for the World Diabetes Congress, which is the farthest I’ll have ever been from home. I never imagined that advocating for diabetes would bring me such opportunity.
How do you encourage other PWDs to get involved with the DOC?
I tell people that we’re here, all the time. Any time of day, you can log onto the computer and find another person with diabetes hanging out on a blog, or on Twitter, or on Facebook. Diabetes never sleeps, but thankfully, neither do PWDs and their caregivers. 😉 Just add your voice to the chorus; the bigger our community becomes, the more our health benefits.
If you could tell a person without diabetes just ONE thing about living with diabetes, what would it be?
There IS life after diagnosis. You’ll be okay.
Thanks, Kerri, for sharing your thoughts here today! [We need to have an epic meet-up full of iced coffee and cupcakes and Kerri Power!]
Kerri Morrone Sparling lives with her husband, Chris, and her ridiculously adorable pink-tutu wearing seventeen-month-old daughter. Kerri was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of six and is an influential member of the diabetes community, both online and off. Kerri blogs at Six Until Me.