Welcome to Connecting the Dots on Diabetes, a series by Sydney Williams of Hiking My Feelings, chronicling the organization’s mission to hike 1 million miles for diabetes awareness in 2021.
Throughout the series, Sydney, who received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in 2017, will interview diabetes advocates, community organizers, policy makers, and patients to answer the question: Is there a relationship between trauma and diabetes? If so, if we treat the trauma, can we more effectively treat diabetes?
When Hiking My Feelings was on tour in 2019, we visited 42 states, 12 national parks, and countless city, state, and other local parks along the way.
Over the course of the 9 months we were on the road, we hosted more than 140 events around the United States, sharing the story of how hiking helped me heal my body and manage my type 2 diabetes and inviting the audience to join us for a local hike to experience the healing power of nature for themselves.
I spoke at 60 different REI stores around the country, and while our experience was overwhelmingly positive, we did notice a disconnect between what we saw on social media and in-store advertising, and what we saw in real life.
One of the most common things we heard on the road and in online conversations between tour stops was that some folks don’t feel safe, represented, or welcome in the outdoors.
Members of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA+ communities and folks with chronic illnesses,…