Champions of the Global Goals: Scriven Bernard
I’ve had type 1 diabetes since October 9th, 1996. I remember vividly the torrent of emotion I experienced on that day. This one diagnosis permanently impacted the rest of my life.
Suddenly, insulin had become so much more than a word I’d heard from my diabetic friends. It was a lifeline. It was as necessary to my health and continued existence as air or water. Fear overwhelmed me as I learned that I could last only a few hours without insulin before I started getting sick.
That year, I read the fiction novel “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. The book tells the story of Brian, a boy stranded in the wilderness after a plane crash. As I immersed myself in Brian’s mind and in his fight for survival, a realization smacked me right in the face: I could never survive in that situation. I immediately recalled stories of real-life survivors who’d been rescued from islands, deserts, or mountains after weeks or months. It terrified me to know that I would never tell one of those stories. Rescuers would have only a few days to find me before I would lose my life.
It is this epiphany that fuels my passion for Global Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being. For me, the lack of insulin is only a prospective threat that I have the privilege of ignoring. But for so many people in countries lacking proper health resources, it’s not just a threat. Children and adults die because they cannot get something as simple as a vial of insulin, or because they cannot refrigerate the insulin that they have.
I take another step back, and I’m smacked in the face again. Children and adults face many more obstacles than the inability to find insulin. Parents cannot vaccinate their children. Children with terrible but curable diseases do not have access to the proper medical care they need. Mothers give birth in dangerous conditions and lose their lives because they cannot find a doctor.
I started to write, “So many people face these crippling fears,” but stopped. These are not fears. They are unacceptable realities. It’s time that we as a world address these realities and eliminate them.
Learn more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and see how you can support Goal 3 – Good Health and Well Being.