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As if to prove the point of yesterday’s post, I’ve received dozens of lovely messages from people about how supportive they’ve found others with diabetes, and how building each other up is a cornerstone of the work they are involved in.  

And as someone said to me today when I told them how many people had reached out: ‘I’m not surprised …’

Neither am I. That community support is on show everywhere you look right now. And no more so than with community efforts to support our diabetes brothers and sisters affected by the war in Ukraine. 

Click to donate

#SpareaRose for Ukraine has now been running for about two and a half weeks. Over $115,000 has been raised in community donations, plus another $80,000 or so in corporate matching. Just a reminder: this is a community initiative. There are four people doing a few things behind the scenes, but really, it’s the community that drives this campaign each and every year – BY the community, FOR the community. 

The Dedoc voices community, a group of people with diabetes, has been instrumental in sharing details of #SpareARose for Ukraine once it had been launched. They have also been sharing other extraordinary efforts they’ve been involved in, and here are just some of them. 

Meet: Dawn

Dedoc voice from Northern Ireland, and diabetes advocate extraordinaire, Dawn has been working with a group of people in NI, collecting support and supplies from the community to be packaged up and sent on to people with diabetes affected by the war.  

We have been given disposable and reusable pens, more than 5000 units of insulin in cartridges and vials, glucometers, test strips, glucagon, hypo treats, pen needles, pump supplies for Medtronic and AccuChek pumps, and lancets galore. 

We’ve also had a donation of disposable pens from women with GDM who have had their babies. The support and generosity has been truly phenomenal. Two of us took the items we had to a diabuddy for collection by Ukrainian Doctors. These Doctors have also been given an ambulance to take into Poland and were also guaranteed transport for supplies by RyanAir into Poland more details about the medical team can be found here 

If you would like to help, there is a go fund me page which you can access by clicking here.

(I can only imagine the supply of lancets are for a joke?)

Meet: Weronika

You may know Weronika better as Blue Sugar Cube on Insta and Twitter and seen her gorgeous artwork. She is a dedoc voice and an advocate from Poland, living in Belgium. 

Weronika shared with me what she has been doing in what can only be described as a community AND family effort!

Together with Polish Diabetes Association, I organized a collection of diabetes supplies in Belgium for Ukrainian PWD.

Of course, the diabetes community didn’t disappoint, and many people instantly wanted to help. It took only 5 days to fill two huge boxes of glucose meters, test strips, insulin pens and needles, insulin pump equipment, sensors, and hypo snacks!

My dear husband helped me sort and pack everything. We already sent the two boxes to Poland via a driver who was so noble to take them to Poland for free.

All diabetes articles will be delivered to the Headquarters of the Polish Diabetes Association in Warsaw (with the help of my in-laws) from where they will be distributed as needed.

Packages are still arriving, and we are organizing the next shipment soon…

Meet: Caro

Caro has been a dedoc voice at a number of conferences now, and is a terrific advocate for technology use for people with diabetes. Here is what she has been doing in Germany.

At our looper meet up with PWD from around the city of Cologne, we collected supplies for people in Ukraine. As we have a Russian member who has Ukrainian friends, the motivation to support was even bigger. These personal contacts and their reports about the situation in Ukraine make us sad and stunned. 

Another member of our group had connections to an organisation from Düsseldorf – they get trucks to Ukraine (even equipped with a fridge and able to cool insulin and other medical equipment).

Third way we support the Ukraine was to send insulin to the country via the organisation ‘Insulin zum Leben’ (the German Insulin for Life affiliate) which we are supporting already for many years. 

At this meet up we collected all stuff we knew that could be needed, sorted it, labelled and packed it. Insulin, test trips, cannulas, USB charger, Hypo snacks, dressing materials, painkiller etc. We all know, supporting via the official organisations is the best way to support – and we do that.

Meet: Ineska

As well as being involved in dedoc voices, Ineska from Croatia is an IDF YLD and part of the Type1EU community. Together with the Zagreb Diabetes Association she has alerted Croatian Red Cross, Ukraine embassy in Zagreb and pharmacies across Croatia to reach out of people from Ukraine who had come into Croatia, so they can be provided with help. 

Ineska shared some examples of the help that’s been requested:

Firstly, we got a call from Croatian policeman who was going to pick some kids and mothers on a border of Ukraine. He told us that he got a request from the Red for diabetes equipment of any kind, but specially insulin. We collected supplies within 3 hours with our diabuddies!

Then yesterday we got a call from Croatian Red Cross that they have a girl with diabetes, and she needs pump materials.

Also, we got a call from pharmacy that someone from Ukraine is asking to buy diabetes equipment, also for pump, but they can’t give it to them, because they need to have a prescription. 

So, at the end we got so many calls, and this is only in ‘small’ country of Croatia. We are so glad, that with this one step we could help so much.

There are others in the dedoc voices chat that are sharing their stories of community efforts they are involved in. Leon from Australia is providing frequent updates from Medicines Sans Frontieres and sharing relevant links to different aid groups. Others are asking for contacts in different countries to pass on urgent messages. As always, the group is coming together to support each other with the aim of helping others with diabetes who are facing impossible challenges right now. 

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the community supports and looks out for each other. Spare a Rose is a great example of that. For ten years, people from all corners of the diabetes community have made it their own. It’s not about supporting the volunteers behind the scenes. It’s about doing a huge thing and supporting others with diabetes. Together. Because that’s what a community does. 

You can still apply for to join the #dedoc° voices program at the upcoming ATTD conference. But be quick as applications close on 20 March. Click on the image below to be taken to the application form.

Disclaimer

I am an advisor to the #dedoc° voices program. I do not receive any payment for this role.

Usually, as February comes to a close, there is a flurry of excitement in the diabetes online community as the final tally for the annual #SpareARose campaign is announced.

This year is different. With war breaking out in Ukraine, it didn’t make sense to end the campaign at the exact moment that many in the diabetes community were wondering how to help our brothers and sisters affected by the war.

And so, after a frantic 24 hours of emails, text messages, phone calls and people doing things, #SpareARose for Ukraine was launched.

It’s live. Right now. And you can be part of it. 

The colours may have changed a little, but the campaign remains that same: a donation – not matter how big or small – will help people with diabetes living in challenging situations. All funds are donated directly to Insulin for Life, a charity that has years of experience working providing insulin and diabetes supplies to under-resourced countries and responding to emergencies. This is an emergency. 

Insulin for Life will be earmarking funds donated in March for their efforts supporting people with diabetes affected by the war in Ukraine. They are part of an international consortium, with partners in Ukraine, and they have supplies ready to go if, when and where they are needed. 

You can help by sharing details of how to donate to #SpareARose for Ukraine with your networks. Speak with your workplace to see if they will support the campaign by matching employee donations. You can connect with the campaign online (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and share what we’re posting. Remember to share outside as well as within the DOC to reach as big an audience as possible.

And, of you can, you can donate.

#SpareARose for Ukraine builds on what has always been a community campaign. It was started by diabetes advocates, it continues to be coordinated by diabetes advocates, all on a volunteer basis. It is underpinned by the philosophy ‘BY the community, FOR the community’. Please support any way you can.

Click image to donate

Gosh, it’s been a hot minute since I last did one of these. The whole point of Interweb Jumble posts on Diabetogenic is to highlight anything that has caught my interest in the online diabetes world, write about initiatives I’ve been involved in, and, most importantly, to elevate the great work being done by others living with diabetes. Building folks up and promoting their amazing efforts has been at the heart of what I do, so I’m always happy to share what others are doing.

Grab a coffee, tea or shandy, (Don’t. Don’t grab a shandy), and read on.

Diabetes Chat

YES!! There is a new place to congregate online, in a different format, and with this one, you get to hear people’s voices. (Sorry to everyone who had to endure my 7am Aussie accent last Tuesday!). This is a new initiative that’s been set up by three DOC folks – Tom from the UK, and Chris and Sarah from the US, utilising a new feature on Twitter called Spaces. It’s a terrific way to host an online peer meeting, creating yet another time and place that is BY people with diabetes, FOR people with diabetes. There is a weekly guest who gets put through their paces with terrific questions from the hosts and those listening in, and an open mic chat time as well. 

It’s super impressive to see people from all over the globe participating. It reminds me a little of the DSMA tweetchats which are very welcoming and open to all, regardless of where you live around the world. 

Search #DiabetesChat on Twitter for more.

dStigmatize

The team at diaTribe has once again tapped into one of the important issues, and much spoken about topics in the diabetes community and developed a terrific new website addressing diabetes stigma. It’s called dStigmatize and you can find it here

I’m delighted to see Diabetes Australia’s work on stigma and language highlighted so prominently on the site (disclosure: I work at Diabetes Australia and have been involved in this work), including the videos from last year’s Australian National Diabetes Week campaign, which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. 

Seasons of…diagnosis

New research out of Finland asked if more people were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during colder months. You can read the paper here.

And a discussion on Twitter about it here.  

HypoRESOLVE podcast

The HypoRESOLVE comms team created a new podcast to showcase the incredible work of this researchers involved in the project, with a strong emphasis on how people with diabetes are involved in the project. I was delighted to host this podcast and speak with some truly remarkable clinicians and researchers as well as other people with diabetes who are on the projects Patient Advisory Committee. (Disclosure – I am on the HypoRESOLVE PAC. PAC members are now paid an honorarium for our time working on this project, however we were not at the time of recording or working on this podcast.)

Here is the most recent episode (on Spotify). 

Better engagement with PWD = better services

Great paper from a team out of the UK looking at how connecting with the lived experience expertise of people with diabetes, health professionals and diabetes health services can improve service delivery. 

One of the co-authors is one of the GBdoc OG, Laura (@Ninjabetic1 on Twitter), and it’s great to see her name back in the diabetes world, contributing to this important discussion. 

And the DDA podcast…

The Danish Diabetes Academy developed a podcast out of their Winter School that featured Postdocs who had participated in the academy speaking with others in the diabetes world to discuss who academic researchers work to ensure their research reaches and benefits those they are researching. I was so honoured to be invited to be interviewed for their first episode and answered questions about how communication is important when engaging people with diabetes to be part of the research process. You can listen here.  

Language Matters for Portuguese speaking friends with diabetes!

The latest in the Diabetes #LanguageMatters stable is this document out of Brazil. Always terrific to see more and more statements coming out, highlighting the importance of language and communication in diabetes. 

Thinking of starting on an insulin pump?

If so, the awesome Grainne at Blood Sugar Trampoline has you covered with this post. It is truly one of the most measured pieces I’ve read about things to consider if you are on the path to starting an insulin pump. The gushiness and superlatives that many of us resort to when banging on about how much we love our pumps are replaced with sensible, and practical advice and suggestions. If this is where you’re thinking of taking your diabetes management, Grainne’s piece is a must read.

Who doesn’t want to come to ATTD!? 

#dedoc° voices is back and heading to ATTD in April this year, and applications are still open if you would like to be considered as part of the program. Successful applicants will be granted access to the entire ATTD program, giving them an opportunity to share what they see and learn with their networks. Make your submission count – this is a competitive process and success is more likely for those who take the time to provide details of how they will be involved in the program. Details here

(Disclosure: I am an advisor to the #dedoc° voices program. I do not receive any payment for this role.) 

World Health Organisation

In March, the World Health Organisation, through the Global Diabetes Compact, is hosting a two-day focus group for people with lived experience of diabetes. If you’re interested in getting involved, there is an expression of interest process you can complete here

Also from WHO is this survey which is asking people with diabetes how to improve messaging and communication. You only have until 28 Feb, so get onto it now! (Disclosure: I was a volunteer consultant in the development of this survey) 

Massive kudos to the Global Diabetes Compact team who are doing an absolutely stellar job engaging with the community. Always so terrific to see!

A diabetes sea shanty…

You’re welcome.

(Follow @TypeWonDiabetes on Instagram here.) 

People with diabetes and their involvement in research

An end of year delight was this article that I co-authored making it to publication. The article is about how to better involve people with health conditions in research (which really seems to be something I’ve been very focussed on recently!). 

Spare a Rose – last push

February still has a last few days which means that Spare a Rose isn’t over yet. You can still donate and contribute to this year’s total and support people with diabetes in under-resourced countries through the Insulin for Life program. 

I was interviewed for an article last year and loved the copy they came up with, but it was the heading that got me. ‘Living a Life of Advocacy’ it screamed at me bold text, perfectly popping out from the hot pink background of the photo they’d selected to accompany the article. 

The photo is from a while ago now. It was 2013, and I was on a stage in Paris where I’d been invited to give a keynote at Doctors 2.0 – a digital health conference that brought together people using, developing and constantly thinking about digital health solutions.  I look at that photo and love the action shot of me mid-sentence, one hand holding a microphone, the other waving, because of course. 

But I also know that at the time I was about 10 weeks pregnant and behind the confidence I projected on that stage, I was terrified and anxious. It was a terrifying time as I balanced wanting to be the best advocate I could while also wanting to bunker down back home, wrap myself in cotton wool and do nothing but protect the baby I was growing. 

As I spoke about how digital solutions bring together a diabetes community from across the globe, I didn’t know that a mere four weeks later, while in New York, I would miscarry my much-wanted baby. I didn’t know that I was about to face the most challenging and emotionally traumatic period of my life. I didn’t know that, because all I thought about in that moment as I was on that stage with the hot pink background, was how important being there was – people with diabetes on stages as equals with health professionals, disrupters and industry. It was big!

Living a life of advocacy. All while almost being afraid to breathe because I was worried that every jolt, every movement, and the active way I present was endangering the baby. No one else would have known that was going on. There was one person, and one person only, at the conference who knew I was pregnant, and she was sitting next to me on that stage. I figured that I needed a friend with me if something went wrong. No one else was knew, and no one – no one – knew how afraid I was. 

In a recent podcast interview, I was asked where this advocacy drive came from. Without missing a beat, I answered that it was in my bones. Because it is. My mum, the trade unionist, had me at protests while I was still in a pram. I went to university to study music, but it makes perfect sense to me and those who know me that I’ve wound up doing what I do, being who I am, advocating my way through my days. In my bones. 

But that doesn’t make it easy. It doesn’t stop the burnout from it, or from feeling overwhelmed. And when it’s diabetes that is the focus of those advocacy efforts, while at the same time, I spend so much time focusing on living with diabetes, there’s a weight that seems compounded. It is heavy. 

Last year, almost 12 months ago to the day, someone decided to email me about Spare a Rose, reaching out through my blog and, with nothing better to do, thought they should let me know that no one cares about the campaign, and that I should understand what people think about me (which wasn’t much, apparently). It was shitty, it was unnecessary. It was unnerving. After the third or fourth one of those emails, I decided to share one on Twitter. I had no idea who it had come from, but I figured that whoever it was would see my tweets and understand just how upsetting it all was. 

It did the trick because it was the last time I heard from my anonymous critic. At least, for the 2021 campaign.

Alas, a week into February 2022, old mate was back, this time with a comment on my blog post about Spare a Rose. I’m guessing it’s old mate – I could be wrong, because who knows when people won’t put their names to things, but the sentiment was the same. It has the same hits as last year. It’s cruel and unnecessary and, once again, has completely rattled me. 

It confuses me beyond belief that of all the advocacy issues I’m involved in, it’s the one that literally is saving the lives of other people with diabetes that was the reason someone thought they would take the time to message me. I mean, I get my fair share of criticisms about language, and other topics that are not everyone’s cup of tea. But surely if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that a campaign that is saving the lives of people with diabetes in under-resourced countries is not controversial. 

Surely. 

It all feels so, so heavy.

I know I’m not alone. I know it is a side effect of advocacy. I look to advocates in the diabetes world and I am in awe of what they do. 

I am in awe of people advocating to healthcare professionals to be more mindful and thoughtful of the way they interact with people with diabetes.

I am in awe of people who work in industry, invading that space, gaining employment and while they are there, building a career that is forged in advocating to create devices, and device adjacent materials to make diabetes better, easier – and those devices more relevant.

I am in awe of people advocating about the injustices of insulin pricing and access, because they want to change the paradigm that means that some people simply cannot access the very drug they need to stay alive.

I am in awe of people who advocate quietly for years, and make big change by doing small things, over and over and over again. 

I am in awe of advocates who have not waited, and instead, built solutions to make their lives easier and less burdensome and then – once they had worked it all out – made it free and available to anyone else who wants to benefit, and then remain there to support them. 

I am in awe of creative people who use art, poetry, drama, comedy, music, as advocacy tools to show people how diabetes impacts everyday life and to change how the world sees those of us living lives of diabetes. 

I am in awe of the work all these advocates do, and I wonder if they’re also feeling that physical weight that comes from their advocacy.

Do they feel that pressure coming from all different directions, weighing them down from above while also feeling as though it is crushing them from the sides? Do they feel overwhelmed? 

I do. And it really, really is heavy.

February 1 and Spare a Rose. The two go hand in hand in my mind. It’s when the diabetes community comes together to support a campaign that gives back in the most fabulous way. For anyone who is new here, or who isn’t sure why the DOC takes on a fetching red hue for the month of February, let me explain. 

#SpareARose is a beautifully simple idea that asks people to forgo one rose in the bouquet to their love on Valentine’s Day, and instead, donate the saving from that one rose to a charity that supports people with diabetes in under-resourced countries. That one rose (about $5/£5/€5) covers the monthly cost of insulin.

Since 2013, the campaign has been known as Spare a Rose, Save a Child, and the charity that has received all donations has been Life for a Child. Over those nine years, the diabetes community – people with diabetes, people affected by diabetes, diabetes organisations and diabetes industry – has raised close to US$400,000, providing months and months of insulin to children in under-resourced countries. Plus, it’s raised the profile of the charity. Back when it started, very few people in the diabetes community knew about Life for a Child. Now, it’s supported financially by many, and recognised by even more. 

For 2022, the campaign is doing something different and broadening its outlook to support people with diabetes diagnosed as adults, or who ‘age out’ of programs that have an upper age limit. Life for a Child supports people up to the age of 26 years. But of course, type 1 diabetes is for life, as is the need for insulin, diabetes supplies and healthcare. 

With this in mind, #SpareARose has changed to Spare a Rose, Save a LIFE to recognise how the campaign will be helping adults with diabetes now, and the new charity partner – Insulin for Life. 

Insulin for Life is a global charity and supports people with diabetes in many of the same countries supported by Spare a Rose. It’s so wonderful to know that these people will continue to receive insulin and other diabetes supplies, even once they hit 26 years of age, and beyond. You can read more about the important work done by Insulin for Life here

Despite these changes, the campaign remains the same. One rose = one month of life. It’s a fabulously simple equation. What also remains the same is that it is a campaign BY the community, FOR the community. Every single person in the Diabetes Online Community can be a part of #SpareARose. We’ve seen tweetchats hosted by people across the world, we’ve seen fun challenges on twitter (remember #SpareAFrown?), we’ve seen videos and vlogs and lots and lots of blog posts. #SpareARose is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Of course, it’s not just financial contributions that make #SpareARose the success it is. It’s also about the community raising its voice to a veritable roar, and elevating the campaign and its charity partner. If you can donate, please do. If you can share, please do. Every time you share, someone might be click on the donate button, or the share button. 

#SpareARose to Save a Life. Is there a more meaningful gift to make in the name of a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or in your own name? I really don’t think so. 

Click to go to SpareARose.org

DISCLOSURE

I’m so honoured that I get to be involved in this campaign by sharing and promoting it as widely as I possibly can. I have spoken about #SpareARose across the globe and written dozens of pieces to raise awareness of this fabulous grassroots campaign, and anyone and everyone can do the same thing. Really, I have no disclosure. I volunteer my time, along with a number of other diabetes advocates from around the world who drive socials to talk up #SpareARose. We also work with diabetes organisations and industry to encourage donations. If you would like to get involved, please reach out. The more the merrier!

Today is the day. The centenary of what remains one of the greatest medical discoveries ever. Here is a reworked post (first published here). There is not a day that I am not grateful for this discovery. And not a day goes by when I am not aware that the diabetes life I live and the access I have is not the same for everyone around the world.

And so today seems a really good day to make a donation to a charity that supports people with diabetes who need it. For me, when deciding which diabetes charities I’ve decided to donate to, it’s been important that the support is tangible. And that’s why I have repeatedly written about Life for a Child, and Insulin for Life on this blog, and supported them with regular donations for a number of years. Their works provides on the ground support, medications, diabetes supplies, education, as well as doing research. They also have an advocacy function, raising awareness of not only the work they do, but the people they support.

If you are able to make a donation it’s a great day to do it. In amongst the celebrations it’s important to remember not everyone will be able to do that today. Remembering them on this important day in diabetes history is very fitting.

Donate to Insulin for Life

Donate to Life for a Child

______________________________________________________________

There has been lots of discussion about what happened 100 years ago today – on 27 July 1921. University of Toronto scientists Fredrick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolated the hormone insulin. Today, that means that I am alive and kicking, 20 years after my islets stopped making any.

It means that type 1 diabetes treatment moved from being a starvation diet and not much else, to injecting a drug that was life giving and life saving.

It means that I take a drug that while giving me life, is also lethal and if not dosed carefully and with great consideration can cause terrible side effects.

It means that people with diabetes don’t die terrible, agonising deaths simply because they were diagnosed with diabetes.

It means that I need to be able to do crazy calculations to ensure what I put into my body completely and utterly imperfectly mimics what those with functioning islet cells do completely and utterly perfectly.

It means that there is a treatment therapy that gives us hope and life and allows us to live – sometimes very long, long lives.

It means that each and every day I feel fortunate to have been born when I was and not 100 years earlier.

It means I take for granted that I have access to a drug that keeps me going.

It means that there are far too many people around the world who still do not have access to the drug I take for granted. And 97 years later, that is not good enough.

It means that it was 97 years ago – 97 years ago – since the discover of insulin to treat diabetes and we are still without a cure.

And it means that I wonder when there will be the next breakthrough that is as significant and meaningful and life changing and life saving as what those two Canadian scientists discovered 97 years ago.

But mostly. It means that I live with hope. Hope that those scientists are somewhere working away, and perhaps – just perhaps – are about to find that next big breakthrough.

This stunning print is by Alex Durussel-Baker, a designer living in Edinburgh (click on print to be taken to her e-shop).
I’ve just placed an order so I can have this print in my office at home.
Alex is donating 20% of all sales of this print to Type 1 International, another charity I have written about a number of times, and supported financially.
You can see more artworks by Alex at her website, Diabetes by Design.

Here’s some stuff I’ve seen in the diabetes online world that I think is pretty cool. And I also think you might like it too if you’ve missed it. 

If nothing else, this serves as a reminder that there are some super talented, smart, funny, productive, and downright awesome folks who are doing some super brilliant things and I am always happy to share that around. (I’m forever grateful when others in the DOC have shared my posts and other work. Building each other up is always a lovely thing to do!)

Vaccine in Australia (finally)

We may be a little behind the curve, but Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has finally started! Some links that might be useful to folks with diabetes:

  1.  THIS statement from Diabetes Australia (disclaimer: I work there), the Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association
  2. THIS piece from Diabetes Mine
  3. THIS eligibility calculator from the Australian Government which will give you an idea of when you can expect to get your jab. 

And THIS message from me (and science):

Diabetes poetry to make you laugh and cry

Kerri Sparling has just released her book of diabetes poetry. It’s called Rage Bolus and it is all shades of wonderful. It’s a gorgeous collection of words that will have you nodding, laughing (chortling) and crying, and is a must on the shelves of all folks with diabetes. 

You can get your own copy here. 

A new diabetes podcast to check out

Chelcie Rice has been around the DOC for a long time now and frequently provides thoughtful commentary on what’s going on in the diabetes world. And so, I’m thrilled to see that he has just launched a new podcast, ‘The Soul of Diabetes’. 

The launch episode can be heard here, and then you should subscribe!

Also, Chelcie shared a video of his thoughts on the recent Dexcom Superbowl advertisement and it’s definitely worth a look. 

Clare Diabetes Group meeting

More than a little honoured to have been invited to speak at the upcoming meeting of the Clare Diabetes Group in Ireland. You can register here.

Not an easy read…

Phyllisa Deroze remains one of the most incredible voices in the diabetes community. I have been lucky enough to hear her speak (she is such an engaging speaker!), and read everything she writes because I know it will get me thinking. On Valentine’s Day she wrote about her diagnosis story, which is not an easy read, but it is a very important one. 

Phyllisa’s blog is called ‘Diagnosed Not Defeated’ and I don’t think that has ever been more accurate or relevant than in this post. Read it here.

CORONADO Study

Just today DiabTribe has published this great piece breaking down the findings from the latest findings of the CORONADO Study which looks at people with diabetes hospitalised with COVID-19 in a number of centres across France. 

Read their article here (and there is a link to the full study there).

Totally not relative to anything diabetes wise, but why?

I’m just going to leave this here…

Can you see it??

Check out this advertisement from Bonds Australia for a bit of diabetes technology on show! A little representation can go a long way! (You’ll have to watch carefully…but check out the 36/37 second mark.)

Keep wearing a mask…

…because the science says they work. And share this with anyone without diabetes who is complaining about just how inconvenient it is to have to carry around a bit of fabric with them when they head out to the supermarket!

Spare a Rose final push

And finally, February is dwindling and that means that the 2021 Spare a Rose campaign is coming to its end. So far, an amazing USD$40,000 has come in from the community – that is, donations from people with diabetes and others affected by or associated with diabetes. There will also be corporate donations added to the final tally. 

If you’ve not yet donated, or even if you have and would like to donate again, there is still time to make your contribution count towards the final tally.  Every single donation makes a difference to the life of a child with diabetes. 

Donations can be made here.

Each February since 2013, the global Diabetes Online Community has supported the charity Life for a Child through the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign. For anyone new to the DOC, or to this blog, Spare a Rose is a super simple campaign with its climax on Valentine’s Day. The idea is for people to send 11 rather than 12 roses to their loved one, and donate the money saved from that one rose to Spare a Rose. That one rose will provide a child with diabetes in an under resourced country insulin for a month. One rose equals one month. Easy!

No one owns Spare a Rose. It was created by a group of diabetes advocates from the US diabetes community and quickly spread to other countries. It is the definition of ‘by people with diabetes, for people with diabetes’ and is a beautiful and perfect illustration about what the DOC can be about when egos, arguments and debates are put aside. There have always been champions who have done an outstanding job sharing the campaign to their networks, but every single person in the DOC is part of the Spare a Rose community. Most people just go about contributing quietly, not needing to shout to the world how much they have donated, because that’s not really in the spirit of the campaign. Every single dollar, euro or pound donated is important and makes a difference.

But here is something worth shouting about: In the eight years the campaign has run, a grand total of USD$261,733 has been raised. Put in Spare a Rose terms, that’s 52,347 roses, which means that a whole year’s worth of insulin has been provided to almost 4,400 children and young people with diabetes in under-resourced countries. I still get goosebumps just thinking about that!

The most amazing thing about Spare a Rose is that it has been picked up in some really wonderful and creative ways. As well as blogs and posts across pretty much evert social media platform imaginable, there have been tweet chats, podcasts and vlogs dedicated to raising awareness and raising funds for the campaign. Talented artists in the DOC have created beautiful artwork and designs to promote the campaign. There have workplace giving campaigns. These efforts have come from every corner of the community, and have resulted in some truly astonishing fundraising totals – especially over the last couple of years.

Spare a Rose 2021 might be a little different. The effects of COVID-19 means that a lot of people who have donated in previous years may not be in a position to do so this year, which is completely understandable. ATTD has been postponed to June which means Spare a Rose can’t piggyback off this year’s conference. The last few years it’s been great to use the focus of a major diabetes conference – and its audience of a huge number of diabetes advocates – to whip up a frenzy of interest and excitement about the campaign, and to introduce it to a whole heap of PWD who may otherwise not have heard about it. We’ve been unashamedly opportunistic by running cheeky adjunct campaigns like Spare a Frown, that raised over $10,000 in just a few days. And we’ve absolutely taken advantage of being right in the face of diabetes device and pharma companies, and asked them to contribute. Which they willingly have.

And so, there may be fewer opportunities to get people to reach into their pockets to donate.

But also, we all know that diabetes doesn’t stop just because there is a global pandemic. And we know that it is people already disproportionately affected by diabetes who are doing it even tougher in times of COVID-19.

Today is the big kick off for Spare A Rose, Save a Child for 2021. It’s another chance for the diabetes community to come together and show just what it can do to support those who are living in places where diabetes is more difficult to afford and to manage; where access to healthcare, medications and diabetes consumables is a daily challenge. If you are lucky enough to live in a country where there is universal healthcare, or to have insurance that helps you afford living with diabetes, and are in a position to make a donation, please, please do.

And share! Word of mouth is important for Spare a Rose. Seeing the DOC flooded with images of roses and links to the donation page helps no end. So, here you go…click on the image below to be taken straight to the donation page. Let’s see what we can do for others in the community.

Follow Spare a Rose on Twitter.

And on Facebook.

And on Instagram.

My email autoreply is on and I have a glorious four weeks of holidays to look forward to. The last time I took any time off was back in January when my family travelled to NYC. There is no travelling this year. We have a new, beautifully landscaped back garden to camp out in over the next month instead. (By ‘camp out’ I mean sit comfortably on a sun lounger and drink Pimm’s.)

My plans are simple – do as little as possible. I’ve rallied against taking any time off this year because I’ve not seen the point. Why would I take time off to simply stay within the walls that I’ve stayed within for most of the year? 

That was a mistake. I should have taken some time off. I should have stepped away from the computer and from work – even if it were just for a couple of days. 

And so, I’m going to truly try to log off, to not stare at my computer, or open my laptop to just write a quick thing, revise something I’ve been working on, message a friend. I’m going to remove SoMe apps from my phone so that it’s not all that simple to quickly check for an update of what is going on in the Twitterverse or the world of Facebook and Instagram. 

I wanted to finish the year on a positive by highlighting some of the people who have made the DOC truly remarkable. So, this is a little Interweb Jumble of the folks in the DOC who have made the place safe, happy and continue to truly be about community. Check them out if you already don’t. Expanding your view of the DOC is important if you want to learn about more than just your part of the world. 

Cherise Shockley has a new podcast…

…and you should subscribe! It’s called ‘Don’t Keep it to Yourself’ and it’s my favourite new diabetes podcast which is completely not about diabetes! Instead, Cherise is pushing people outside their comfort zones and asking them to share things that others may not know about them. I’ve loved hearing the episodes she’s already shared and had an absolute ball chatting with her. 

The thing about Cherise is that she IS community. Even though her podcast is not about diabetes, it is still about people supporting and looking out for each other. Because that is who this woman is! Subscribe and listen from wherever you subscribe and listen to podcasts. 

DOC friends who have made me uncomfortable – but in a good way.

First up is wonderful Steffi from Pep Me Up whose Instagram stories challenged me to look at what was going on in the world in different ways. She has been absolutely relentless in her efforts to elevate the stories of people who are forgotten or left behind and highlight the bias we inherently have. You can find Steffi on Instagram here.  

And secondly, the also wonderful Tine who you can find on Twitter at @SayTine. We’ve known each other for a number of years now and we bonded over a mutual love of food. We have been allies in the language matters movement. Tine’s feminism has always been aligned with my own, but she has introduced me to different people and ideas that have made me consider some of my own ideas. 

Accessible Dtech information…

…from the always enthusiastic and excited Nerdabetic. I met Kamil for the first time a year or so ago and discovered that he is every bit as awesome and lovely in real life as he is online. I love the way he makes the latest in diabetes tech accessible and relevant to tech-imbeciles like me while also making it relevant to people whose interest in and understanding of technology generally makes my brain synapsis short circuit. It’s great to see Kamil appearing in the global DOC more with appearances on diaTribe. Kamil’s YouTube channel is here.

Brilliant photography…

…from a DOC stalwart. Mike Durbin was one of the first people I noticed in the DOC when I started participating in DSMA tweetchats over ten years ago. I’ve never met him, but am always interested in what he has to say, and his thoughtful takes on the diabetes world. Mike appears in every single presentation I give about diabetes peer support and the DOC because I always share this picture. It speaks community to me. 

On top of being such an integral and wonderful part of the DOC, Mike is a truly outstanding photographer and this year, I have found myself absolutely obsessed with what he has shared. You can see his work on Twitter here.

More Clever creatives

I adore the gorgeous artwork Nicole Buchanan shares on her Instagram. She absolutely nails diabetes moments with stunning designs and clever captions. I’ve shared so many of her posts because it’s like she has climbed into my head and then perfectly explained the mess in there with a beautiful illustration. You can follow her on Instagram here

Another favourite diabetes creative is Katie Lamb, another talented illustrator who manages to capture diabetes in her lush drawings. She’ll even draw you for a small fee! Find her here.

Aussie Jenna Cantamessa continues to share beautiful drawings on her Instagram here, and she has just opened an Etsy store so you can own one of her beautiful pictures. 

Special mention to dedoc for keeping PWD at conferences…

…because it would have been all too easy for us to have been forgotten with conferences going online. Bastian has done a stellar job getting DEDOC Voices up and running, offering scholarships to PWD to be part of ATTD (the only IRL large-scale conference this year), EASD and ISPAD. 

CWD keeping people connected

Children with Diabetes did a herculean job of not only running hugely successful Friends for Life conferences online, but also churned out relevant content all year, and seemed to run a bazillion meetups to keep people connected. In case you missed the fireside chat hosted by Kerri Sparling about #LanguageMatters, you can play catch up here. 

Spare a Rose…

…will be back next year, but I just wanted to mention the amazing efforts of the community this year as we smashed all previous records and delivered a magnificent USD$73,748 straight to Life for a Child. How remarkable is it when the DOC stops looking inwards??

The offline DOC friends who kept me going…

…are the reason that I have reached this stage of this year with some sense of balance. A huge thank you to the squad of four friends from the US & UK who have shared their lives with me throughout this clusterfuck of a year in an endless message thread that has kept me going. And the IRL friends too – with special mentions to Georgie and Jo. I am so grateful we live close to each other. 

And don’t forget…

please do consider making a donation to Insulin for Life’s Secret Santa Campaign.

Finally…

…that’s all from me for 2020. I’ll be back in the new year, but for now I am switching off and doing everything in my power to be less busy, less online and less engaged. Probably the only downside I see with Loop is how reliant it is on being close to my iPhone at all times, because honestly, I would like to let my phone battery run flat and not charge it up again until the end of January! But I am making a concerted effort to turn off and ignore notifications and be more present with the people I am so, so lucky to spend my life with. To those celebrating, have a wonderful festive season. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by. See you in 2021. 

Look what our community did! Here is the just released #SpareARose total for 2020. What a remarkable effort from a remarkable community!

The grand total of USD$73,748 will mean that, through Life for a Child, 1229 children with diabetes in under-resourced countries will have access to insulin for the next year. Amazing!

I guess there’s nothing more to say for this year, other than thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all who contributed – whether that be through a donation or sharing the campaign.

Spare a Rose, Spare a Child will be back next year. Each year, we promise it will be bigger and better, and I’m sure that will be the case for 2021. Just watch us all go!

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