Sunday, February 16, 2014

Down with Diabetes!



Deepali Phadnis: Fighting the
Good Fight
Beauty with a cause is certainly inspirational. When Deepali Phadnis was under the limelight as Mrs. Asia International, she decided that the spotlight had to shift from her to the cause she was fighting. In a matter of days, she garnered plenty of support for Diabetes Awareness, and has left no stone unturned in fighting the debilitating disease. Deepali’s fight for Diabetes Awareness began from a rather personal incident. “I lost my father due to Diabetes and related complications. I kept asking myself and introspecting on why we could not try to save him. I realized that I was born in a Diabetic Family in a Diabetic Nation. I could not do much to save my father owing to the lack of awareness. Now, though, after going through what I did, I realise that it is definitely important that we all work towards finding a way to stop Diabetes in India. If we don’t, there is every chance that this disorder will take us back a hundred years as living with diabetes is difficult.”

Deepali’s work spectrum on the issue and on bringing awareness about the disease to the masses has involved a lot of hard work. She regularly works to screen a documentary film on Diabetes, titled “India Diverse, Dense and Diabetic”. The film focuses on India’s diverse culture, dense population and the massive extent of diabetes, and was made by Padmashree Dr. Mohan, India’s number one Diabetes Specialist, with the intention of educating, spreading awareness and getting more people to understand the effects of Diabetes.

“I entered a platform where I was heard internationally, and came back to India to create a platform that would help me reach more. I host camps on Women’s Day for Diabetes awareness in Women, focusing on specific kinds of diabetes - such as Gestational Diabetes and Diabetes due to Obesity. Women are so busy running their family that they forget about their health. It Many diabetic women ignore their medication and nutritional/physical exercise needs, as they think that their first job is to serve their family. I work with people with Type 1 diabetes that are below the poverty line. I assist in raising funds for them by selling T-shirts that brings awareness on Diabetes and helps child with fund to buy medication, encouraging them to live happy and don't feel alone to live with Diabetes. I also introduced the Diabetic alert ID card as neither the parents of children nor caregivers were aware that they can have very simple and least expensive thing such as ID card that can be life saver in emergencies.”

With Diabetes, the rich can turn to poor. There are more than 200 Juvenile Type-1 diabetic children who  
Little steps can make a big difference.
Image: Deepali Phadnis
need lots of help to get medication and monitoring to lead a normal life. They need day camps that encourage them and give a feeling that they are not alone in their struggle to live with diabetes. “To do all this in one place is a big challenge. I need the support of society and many, many helping hands for which I am still struggling.” She says.

Currently, Deepali is working on a donation camp towards Juvenile and Neonatal Diabetic Children who are below the poverty line. “Any help would be greatly appreciated: help in terms of funds is most preferred as doctors can buy medication or equipments as required for the children themselves. Another option that’s up for the masses is to donate boxes of Gluco-Strips, and the more inclined can even “adopt” a child and take care of their medical expenses.
To know more about how you can help out, reach us at info@redelephantfoundation.org with “Donations for Diabetes” in the subject line.

Deepali advices:
Diabetes is no more a rich man’s disease. It can happen to anyone, but by living with diabetes, the rich can turn to poor. Diabetes is not about just blood sugar control. Obesity is a chronic disorder which plays the role of a catalyst for many disorders such heart disease, kidney failure and blindness, paralysis and much more. The good news is that Diabetes is controllable though common and chronic. We can together as a nation can wipe out Diabetes. All we need is to strike a balance between diet and exercise to keep Diabetes at bay. 

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