CDP was created by Chet Galaska, who has had type 1 diabetes since 1981. He realized how little people know about diabetes and wrote The Diabetes Book: What Everyone Should Know to share the facts with diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
For over thirty years he kept his disease to himself, telling only those very close to him about it. This changed when he started researching the book and found that diabetics shared his experiences of not discussing diabetes to avoid being stigmatized, thinking that you alone struggled to manage blood glucose levels and realizing that those who aren’t diabetic really can’t understand how relentless and unpredictable the disease is.
The book inspired the Challenge Diabetes Program. CDP focuses on rubber-hits-the-road aspects of the disease, suggests immediately usable strategies and sheds the unjustified guilt and shame many diabetics carry.
Diabetics often have misgivings about health care professionals, so CDP is taught by knowledgeable diabetics who are not medical people. The rapport and trust this inspires is a key to its effectiveness.
The program explains why professional medical help is essential and encourages participants to seek it. It also welcomes everyone -diabetic or not- to learn about the disease and create an environment that respects those who fight it.