Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Spare A Rose - An Alternative Life


Spare A Rose - An Alternative Life



Although I'm not a fan of labels sometimes I'm called a Blogger. And sharing this description is Chris who is more often known as the Grumpy Pumper. A good chap who has no desire to hide the truths of living with Type 1 from his perspective. Head over to his blog and Twitter feed for some juicy feet pictures - click this link if manky feet are your thing.

Chris put the call out to other people who blog about a project he is very keen on because he wanted to spread the message far and wide. The formal request went like this:

“Who’s up for writing a post about how life would be different if at diagnosis Insulin was not free and you can’t afford it? #SpareARose

Spare A Rose started in 2013 and is something I’ve tweeted about in the past but, with regret, I've never blogged about. The campaign is run by the International Diabetes Federation’s Life For A Child organisation and using their words: 

It's simple: buy one less rose this Valentine's Day and donate the value of that flower to a child living with diabetes in a less-resourced country.

Last year over $22,000 was raised by Spare A Rose during 2017 through thousands of small donations. This enabled Life For A Child to support 369 young people with the insulin, tools and education they need to manage their diabetes.1 

So how do I address the question posed by Chris above? Well in my usual way, I’ll answer the question I choose to answer rather than the one given. (For anyone at high school taking exams, please don’t follow this method.)

Here goes.....

How would life would be different if insulin and medical treatment is not free at point of use and I have to make choices based on that?

I live in the UK where healthcare is paid for through general taxation. The concept is that medicines are free at the point of use. There are plenty of discussions to be had on the rights, wrongs and oddities about this. But as a principle I like it. A LOT. From a diabetes perspective no-one dies because they cannot afford insulin. No-one has to chose between paying for insulin or food.

So how would my life be different now if I had to pay for my insulin, needles, test strips, insulin pump and pump consumables? The initial thoughts are about how much it would cost and the impact of this on the rest of my life and the life of my family.

The bigger impact would probably be the emotional ones. I cannot imagine how tough it must be to have to make a choice between choosing to eat a healthy balanced diet or skipping meals because £5 gets added to the cost of every meal. And in many places this £5 equals more than a day's wage. And for background insulin (basal) there is no way to escape it, so you are paying daily for the chance to exist. 

Would it have affected my mind so much that it also affected my educational, career and personal choices? I don’t know but I expect it would have. The constant worry and need to find the money to live would have made me make different life choices.

If I have to pay for every blood test, doctor’s appointment and eye test, I have a choice to make; do I choose to have them if it’s costing me money to pay every time? Possibly not. So what’s the impact of that? Do I now have undiscovered complications ticking along that arrive like a 10 tonne lorry at a later date? Probably.

And when that lorry appears a small daily cost becomes a very big cost to fix and then my choices become much harder and I’m trading big debts for my family for decades for a few extra years on earth.

These are my hypothetical choices but these are the same decisions being made by people living with type 1 diabetes, around the world every single day. These people are just like you or your child with type 1 diabetes. Chance, fate or a random deity has put you in a different place able to buy a rose (or 24!) instead of using every penny or rand to stay alive.

(Space deliberately left blank for you to think about your situation and how it might be different without easy, affordable access to medicines and healthcare)

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So impress the person who makes your heart skip a beat when you think about them and give them 11 roses this year instead of 12 or 12 instead of 24. Prove your ❤️is more thoughtful than just a quick Interflora online purchase. Display to your true love what a good person you are. Donate at the link below to show you’re part of a special community that cares about someone who’s battling daily to get supplies of life-saving medicine and equipment to live one more day. 

We are that community. We care. You care!

Thank you for taking the time to read and thank you for your donation here - https://lifeforachildusa.org/#give. You can choose to donate the value of a single rose, a bunch of them or a whole darned bush. One rose ($5) equates to life for 1 child for 1 month.
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* If you read my last blog piece you’ll also have seen my comments on insulin4all. That is a similar campaign looking to improve access to insulin around the world and this includes countries that are definitely not “less resourced”. Yes I’m looking at you the pharmaceutical companies, selling to the US Healthcare behemoths at inflated prices which are then passed on to the users.



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