In the past few months two of my columns seem to have touched a raw nerve. In one piece I asked, in reference to the money earmarked for diabetes research each year by the National Institutes of Health, "What would you do with $300 million?" The other column that generated several reactions was a piece focusing on the great strides made by AIDS activists in their efforts to influence research funding decisions. Reactions to both columns have been pouring in ever since.
Many readers have expressed their frustration with the state of research directed towards a cure. As one reader put it in the February issue, "To beat the Russians we went to outer space and back in short order. At the time it seemed impossible. If the medical community really wanted to find a cure for diabetes, I believe it could be done."
Another woman writes in this month's issue, "For a long time I have had a vision of all the families affected by diabetes in the United States gathering on the mall in Washington, D.C. - a true demand for a cure."
Some are upset because diabetes is still not recognized as the serious disease that it is. "While diabetes may not have the media coverage of AIDS, it destroys lives just the same," wrote a concerned reader in January.
Others have been inspired by the progress made by AIDS activists. "The current focus on AIDS research is a good example of what screaming, yelling and organizing can do. If diabetics would only unite!" writes a frustrated woman in this month's issue.
Nearly all of the letters we have received in response to these articles express frustration with the status quo. What do you think? What are your concerns? We want to know.
The words of a 17-year-old Delegate for Diabetes best express the importance of this sort of dialogue, "If we had current information ... perhaps we could make a difference ... We need to show the people who control our money that we care."
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