Friday, 17 February 2012

Media volunteer

I was recently asked to do answer a few questions for diabetes uk about being a media volunteer... Thought I would post my answers on here ... It may help you if you wish to have your story told or points listened to
I started as a media volunteer about 3 years ago now....
I wanted to try and raise the awareness of type 1 and the serious complications that come if not diagnosed in time, or you neglect and push your diabetes into a corner and ignore it. I started a blog when I was 1st diagnosed with the type 1 and neuropathy, as at the time I could not find any information about my complications, so it was a way of trying to reach others and try to connect with them to help understand how to deal with it all. It was also a way for me to vent my frustrations whenever I was feeling down. The more I wrote the more views I had and the more feedback and messages people sent me, and the general theme was that of feeling alone so I thought as a media volunteer I could raise the profile of neuroapthy.
I have had various magazine interviews, have been in balance magazine, I a food related magazine, an online men's health magazinemand more recently was interviewed for Diabetes Forecast Magazine the the USA. I have been involved with the user involvement programme so have been privileged to attend NHS Diabetes programme board, which makes decisions on the future of Diabetes in the UK which is chaired by Dr Rowan Hillson MBE, so have been interviewed on how service users can make a difference.
My highlights being a media volunteer have been to be interviewed for BBC south today who ran a story about the complications of Type 1 Diabetes as I was completing a fundraiser / awareness day in 2010 I was also interviewed but the local radio station and in the local paper promoting the event. It was for me what I had been striving for since I was diagnosed 2'yrs previously... So helped raise the awareness but also on a personal level helped me achieve a goal which I had set while in my hospital bed back in 2007...the media team were amazing in their efforts I helping me.
As a media volunteer I feel you just need to be confident, and clear in how you come across in an interview. Do,not be afraid or intimidated by the situation and remember what you are doing is helping others out to.. If its a radio interview or an interview for a magazine have some notes handy as sometimes you may forget to say all that you wAnted to, try and be a to the point as you can ....people don't like to hear a waffler...(like me) ....
Keep a record of whAt you do, you never know how it will help you in the future wether it be in a career, or on those diabetic down days which we all get to give yourself a boast.
I think that being a media volunteer and helped me in my personal journey to content with others with compications and type1, also being able to put a face to the condition and as a man encourage other young men talk about problems like erectile dysfunction related to diabetes, and show that there is help out there and it's ok to talk about it.

Diabetes will not go away, you can't fight or ignore it, once you embrace it and make it apart of your life you will realise you are not alone there are plenty of others out there that will and want to help, talking and communication is defiantly the key.
I would encourage anybody who wants to make a difference to pick up the phone or send an email to the diabetes uk team, and help them raise awareness of Diabetes, but also help you with your journey along the way.