November is National Diabetes Month and spreading awareness about important causes – especially those that impact our workforce – is something that’s a priority at LGC. Rather than tell you the best way to promote diabetes awareness in the workplace, we asked Michael Sterrett, Senior Payroll Specialist at LGC, to share his story.
Here’s How to Promote Diabetes Awareness in the Workplace
We asked Michael about his experience with diabetes and his thoughts on how to promote diabetes awareness. Here’s what he had to say:
Talk a little bit about your experience with diabetes so far.
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in 2016 at the age of 29. When I found out I was diabetic, I was worried. I have watched my mother and sisters battle with it over the years. I was not fully educated on it and the dangers behind it.
In the beginning I took in as much information as I could. I started off great, getting my AlC down. Then I hit a bump in the road and my health declined again.
It’s been a rocky journey so far. Some days are better than others. Diabetes can have an effect on your mental health. It can make you feel defeated. It can make you feel like nothing will ever work in your favor. There have been days where I have said, “I’m done with this battle”. I have realized that living with Diabetes will always be an everyday battle. But I also came to understand that with the right encouragement and resources in place – whether it’s family, friends, or a support group – it will be an easier battle for you.
Has having diabetes impacted your professional life/being at work? If so, how?
Diabetes can most definitely impact your workday. One minute you can be okay and then boom you have low sugar. This leads to blurry vision, shaky hands, rapid heart beating. I am lucky to say I have not experienced this so far in the workplace.
What do you think is the best way to promote diabetes awareness?
I believe the best way to promote diabetes awareness is by educating others. People tend to joke about diabetes. Diabetes is more than the need to “just stop eating sweets”. Diabetes is a lifestyle change. I believe everyone should educate themselves on Diabetes before telling someone to stop eating sugar or to cut back. Diabetes isn’t a choice. The last thing we want to hear is someone who is uneducated on it be judgmental about it. The more we educate others, the more others will understand the true battle we face.
Are there ways employers can better support their employees in the workplace who have diabetes? If so, what are they?
There are many ways the workplace can support their employees who have diabetes. These can vary from understanding we may have good and bad days. Showing support when needed. Offer sugar-free options at parties/pitch ins. The little things show support. For me, just hearing “you got this” means the world to me. Knowing that my workplace cares and understands means the most.
What do you think people should know about diabetes to help them better understand its impact on people who have it?
A lot of people tend to think Diabetes is caused by poor eating habits or someone’s weight. Most people with Diabetes developed it as a child or it was passed through genetics. Diabetes is more than “just stop eating the sugar” or “cutting back”. You don’t have to be overweight, a certain age, or a certain race to have Diabetes – it’s an equal opportunity disease. It’s a life changing illness. Diabetes can KILL you. With education I think it will cut back on the negativity we can sometimes hear from others. The more we spread awareness of this disease, the more others will understand. Let us stand, fight, and find that cure for Diabetes – together.
To learn more about National Diabetes Month, visit the American Diabetes Association website.