29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, have diabetes, including 8.1 million people who have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed (All ages, 2012). Chronic illness like diabetes can disrupt a person’s life in a myriad of ways. It’s often described as an “invisible disease” which affects not only the patient but family members as well. In addition to disease-specific symptoms, patients often experience pain, fatigue, sleep issues, and mood disorders. Challenging emotions of anxiety, uncertainty, frustration and loss of control may arise. Learning how to manage stress and maintain a positive emotional, spiritual and physical perspective are key.
Instead of using a traditional approach of diet and exercise to address diabetes, our "Diabetes in Motion" (DIM) program combines movement, nutrition and support for patients, allowing them to explore what it’s like to have diabetes through the lens of body awareness. Sylvie Minot, Founder & Executive Director of Syzygy Dance Project, leads the movement aspect, while Catherine McConkie, Chef and Founder of The Caregivers Table, provides patients with healthy and delicious food substitutions. This monthly program at SF General Hospital just reached its one year mark and has been fun, impactful and well-received. The group of attendees is our most diverse in ethnicity, gender, and age (ranging from 17-75 years), and has formed into a committed, supportive community of 20-25 people. We’ve received a lot of affirming feedback from patients, who explain that it is "very good to have this class, very helpful and adds to my overall knowledge," and that "I spent years being secluded; not getting out of bed. This class is just what I need." In this program, every person has his/her own story, a story that has an opportunity to be expressed when we move and cook together. There is a feeling of community in the class; patients have a sense of belonging and understand they are not alone in what they are going through.
Unfortunately we do not have the support for the class that we had last year, and therefore we’ll need to fund the class ourselves for this year. This is why we need your help to keep the program alive. Please consider donating so we can continue to offer this impactful work and support the group going forward!