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Tackling Adherence: QB Jay Cutler Shares His Life With Diabetes

Posted by | 9:35am on Monday, March 8, 2010

Shared stories are an effective way to encourage compliance with therapy, as Pam Todd noted in a recent post. And if the story taps into a national passion, like football, the opportunities for visibility and interest grow.

But not just any story will do. A personal story as part of a campaign to encourage compliance must incorporate three essential ingredients:
•    Acknowledge the difficulty
•    Model the behaviors
•    Demonstrate the benefits

Touchdowns for Diabetes from Eli Lilly does a great job of telling the story of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s management of his recently diagnosed Type I diabetes. The series of short videos, also available on YouTube, successfully addresses each of the three essential components in an adherence campaign.

Acknowledge the difficulty
Encouraging compliance has to start with a realistic recognition of the difficulties. Jay talks about the complexity of testing after every series of a game, of the anxiety about having to give himself shots, of his longing for sweets. It’s real and honest.

Model the behaviors
Showing how adherence can be integrated into daily life is a highly effective way to encourage compliance. There are many clips of Jay testing on the sidelines. It’s clear that everyone (Jay, his teammates, the coaches and staff) understands that testing for Jay is like getting water for others – just part of what has to happen.

Demonstrate the benefits
Seeing is believing. There is great power in the story of someone succeeding in spite of an illness, in part because they followed a treatment protocol.  Jay Cutler is a walking example of thriving while living with a complex medical condition. He speaks powerfully about the risks and problems if he neglects his health and his therapy.

All three components are touched in a Chicago-area news story which shows Jay talking to youngsters and teens about life with diabetes. Although his respect for their struggles and support of their longings is effective, his presence alone is a powerful, hopeful testament.

A high-profile, thoughtful professional athlete makes for an engaging story, but it is the way he tells his story that makes it truly effective. By acknowledging the difficulties, modeling the behaviors, and demonstrating the benefits, Jay Cutler has told his story in a way that offers hope and guidance to anyone struggling with a chronic condition.  Touchdown!

This post was contributed by Linda Martens, Content Strategist at Siren Interactive. To receive alerts on new postings, please subscribe via RSS.

(Image courtesy of ronalmog on Flickr)

About Linda Martens

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    08 March 2010 at 3:03pm
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