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Letter to Our Leaders

Drs. Maurer & Wilson:

I am a current member of the National Federation of the Blind here in the wonderful state of Nebraska. I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and began treatment including medication, diet changes and exercise. Upon discovering that checking my blood sugar would be a regular thing, I joined the Diabetes Action Network (DAN) and the diabetes talk list on NFBnet.

Let me tell you what I have gained in just a short time of involvement with this wonderful group of people:

1. Information:
Carb counting was new territory for me; planning balanced meals a new frontier. I knew I needed a map (of sorts) for navigating this new territory. The people on the diabetes list referred me to articles from Voice of the Diabetic that had the very information I needed for planning meals, among other things. I found articles on finger-sticking techniques (for doing the blood sugar checks on a glucometer) and even dealing with stress. There is a wealth of information to be found in Voice of the Diabetic, and I’ve only scratched the surface.

2. Support:
I admit, despite knowing that diabetes is in my family, I took the diagnosis very hard. Upon joining the diabetes talk list, I found immediately a network of people who (because of their love, encouragement, camaraderie, understanding and so much else) is more aptly described as a family...much like the Federation as a whole. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the DAN is a family within the Federation family. I say this because they have shown love and support and affirmed me at times I felt afraid (especially of the finger sticking), and reminded me that it’s okay to be afraid, but it’s what you do with that fear—how you handle that fear—that matters. I…wish that I… [could] meet these people in person and give each and every one of them the biggest bear hug my six foot frame would allow.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I felt it important for you to know just what the Diabetes Action Network and Voice of the Diabetic means to someone like me.

Alan Wheeler

Editor’s notes: Dr. Marc Maurer is President of the National Federation of the Blind; Dr. Joanne Wilson is Executive Director for Affiliate Action. To join the National Federation of the Blind/Diabetes Action Network chat list via the World Wide Web, visit or, via email, send a message with subject or body ‘help’ to [email protected] You can reach the person managing the list at [email protected]