This week, in recognition of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we are showcasing Joe Meadours who is one of California’s strongest advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Joe is a long time Board Member of The Arc of California, and past Executive Director of People First California. Over the past couple of years Joe’s personal experience and journey through managing his own health needs has led him to develop a passion for health education and advocacy. Joe learned the hard way that had a chronic health condition when he was diagnosed with diabetes after passing out at a baseball game. After many days in the hospital and feeling angry and confused, Joe knew that he had some hard decisions to make and a lot to learn if he was going to be able to maintain his independence.
Over the last 2 years, Joe has worked so hard to learn everything he can about diabetes and how to manage it. When he first began his journey he had to inject himself with insulin 4 times a day – before every meal and before bed – and he said it made him feel like a human pin cushion. Today, he is proud to report that after a lot of hard work his diabetes is under control, he had significantly reduced the amount of insulin and the number of times he has to take it.
His hard work has included working with his support person learning how to shop better and cook healthy meals instead of going out to get food that may not have been so healthy. He also started walking every day and is not up to walking three times a day (several miles in total). Joe had the courage to ask his team – roommate, family, friends, service provider, health care provider – for help and to support him in his effort to get his health in check. Joe is a natural leader, educator, and advocate and because of his personal journey and experience he wants to work with his peers and provide health education to help others manage their own health. Joe is in the process of developing a health education training in hopes of supporting his peers who may be struggling with managing their own health. We look forward to seeing Joe’s presentation and will let everyone know when and where he may be presenting this important information.