Scott Benner is the winner of our 2011 Advocating for Another Award for his work as a Type 1 Diabetes parent and advocate on Arden’s Day. Scott’s work raising awareness for juvenile diabetes centers around the detailed perspective he offers on Arden, his daughter, and her journey with diabetes as well his own journey as a parent and caregiver. A quote from his Health Activist Award nomination said, “I can say without hesitation that the work Scott does on behalf of Arden and the other children with diabetes is nothing short of inspirational.” We are honored to have gotten to know Scott through our Awards program and can’t wait to continue to see how he raises awareness, funding, and support for the juvenile diabetes and type 1 communities. Let’s learn a bit more about Scott in his own words:
How/why did you become a Health Activist? Tell us your Health Activist story!
I wasn’t trying to become a health activist or blogger… I wasn’t trying to do anything except create an online explanation of type I diabetes that my family and close friends could refer to. That anyone knows about Arden’s Day is a testament to the power of the Internet. This summer (2012) my site will be five years old and there are days that I still feel confused that it is read in so many places all over the world.
Many of you may be thinking that I’m new to this but the truth is until about nine months ago my site was built on a platform that was almost completely invisible to search engines. In a way I’m happy that I was so unaware of things like SEO because the readers that found me were built completely by word of mouth. It’s been five and half year since our daughter Arden was diagnosed with type I diabetes and I’ve learned a great deal about how best to navigate my days without losing my mind. While it’s true that I didn’t have a ‘reason’ for starting my website, time and countless amazing interactions have taught me that I maintain it with such love for one reason… I’m genuinely warmed that my site takes away even some of the angst and pain associated with a typical day living with type I. If Arden’s Day was only read by five people and those five people were helped by it… I’d keep writing.
What are your goals for Health Activism in 2012?
I have started a charity whose goal is to lesson the financial burden associated with purchasing insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors for children with type I diabetes. My goal is to raise enough money to cover as many under and uninsured children as I can. Long-term, I want to grow the charity until it covers every family that feels the financial strain of paying for these amazing medical devices. I envision a world where parents don’t have to say no to these devices because of cost. Too many want but can not afford the devices that can led to longer and healthier lives for their beautiful children. It’s wrong and I’m dedicated to righting the situation.
What awareness event or effort are you most excited about in your condition?
I’m pretty excited about mine. I hope that everyone can take a moment and find me on social media or through my site. That way when the charity launches officially, you’ll be able to help me spread the word throughout the diabetes online community and beyond.
If you could tell other Health Activists a few things about your condition and your community, what would you want them to know?
The diabetes community is first rate. A wonderful and ever expanding group of people that either have type I, type 2 or are the CareGivers to a child with the disease. I never thought that it would be possible to meet so many different but similar people – and they all seem to have a heart of pure gold. If you are a new activist or someone that has been writing about type I forever my message is the same… Find others that live their days as you do. Connect with them on FaceBook, Twitter or through forums. Just saying hello will open a door that takes you to a new and wonderful place. There is a richness that comes from meeting and interacting with other people that know first hand what your day is like. You can’t replace it…
In regards to type 1 specifically… If I could only give one piece of advice, it would be to stay current regarding management methods. Devices and medications improve and change, please do not become stagnant in your understanding and use of them. You don’t want to look up ten years from now and be the one managing diabetes the way it was done ten years ago. Read, listen and don’t be scared to make changes when changes are available and a better option then the ones you are currently employing.
Congratulations again to Scott! If you haven’t yet, visit his award-winning blog (and learn more about Arden herself) Arden’s Day, check out their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter @ardensday.