Say hello to November: National Diabetes Awareness Month.  There are loads of awareness campaigns going on this month, beginning with the list of exciting stuff I previewed recently here. World Diabetes Day is of course smack in the middle of the month on Nov. 14, and here in San Francisco, we'll be lighting up the Metreon Building and kicking off the fun new fitness program, Dance Out Diabetes.

What I want to talk to you about today, however, is Thinking Globally. The International Diabetes Federation was formed, and began the World Diabetes Day initiative, in response to "the alarming rise in diabetes around the world."

Of course, we need to raise awareness of this illness here in the US, and help those in need. But keep in mind, we still live in a relatively wealthy Western country, in which we have it pretty good. No matter how much we struggle with our diabetes, believe you me, there are people who are much worse off — children who die every day because they don't have access to life-saving testing supplies and insulin.

Innovation 2015

For this reason, the amazing competitive cyclists at Team Type 1 are staging a special campaign to help children in Rwanda this month. Here's what they're up to:

The Event

Team Type 1 will make history by placing an all type 1 team into a professional stage race, the Tour of Rwanda (8 days, 1200kms) which has never been done before!  The team is sending six of its professional cyclists, all with type 1 diabetes, to participate in this brand new international cycling race that takes place over nine days beginning on November 15th, 2010, in Kigali, Rwanda.

As part of this effort Team Type 1, in conjunction with the International Diabetes Federation and many diabetes suppliers, will be providing hundreds of children in Rwanda with life-saving diabetes medication and supplies.

The Cause

Why Rwanda? Life expectancy is less than 5 years with diabetes.  In addition, many children and adolescents with diabetes die very quickly. Other young people struggle to survive with insufficient access to insulin and without access to monitoring supplies or trained diabetes healthcare providers. Unable to control their blood glucose, they develop complications early in life. In low-income countries, it is not uncommon to find youths and young adults with devastating complications such as eye damage and kidney failure. For these young people, the years spent developing complications are desperately unpleasant and unhappy.

"On World Diabetes Day we will meet with the kids as we have done with children from diabetes camps all over America, and try to motivate them to take the best care they can so that they too can achieve their dreams!" says team captain Phil Southerland.  "This is only our first launch in the goal to ensure that everyone in the world has access, and we will be coming to a city near you soon to do the same."

How You Can Help

Team Type 1 is asking everyone with or effected by diabetes to take part in the TT1 Strip-A-Thon, by donating spare glucose meters and test strips, to provide the children with Rwanda diabetes supplies for the year — alongside their drive to inspire the children by showing that type 1 diabetics can win a stage or place overall in their very own Tour of Rwanda.

How to CONTRIBUTE & WIN Here at the 'Mine

The contest: Be a donor to the Strip-A-Thon, and then post a message in the Comments Section below — any message at all that you'd like to pass on to the D-kids in Rwanda. Team Type 1 has committed to compiling these messages, and making sure they get delivered, in a language the children can understand.  All participants will be entered in a drawing to win one of three care packs of helpful and fun D-prizes:

- a signed cycling jersey, a team poster, a T-shirt and water bottle from the Team Type 1 store

- a sampling of diabetes and sports products from Team Type 1's sponsors, including Dex4 glucose products, low-GI energy snacks and more

- for one lucky winner living in or near Northern California (or willing to travel here), a ride in the team car at America's largest race, The Tour of California, next May (details TBD)

We'll be accepting messages to the kids in Rwanda through World Diabetes Day, Nov. 14.  Winners will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 16.

The Strip-A-Thon will continue to take donations through the end of November:

Send your un-opened vials of test strips, and/or meters, or monetary donation to -

Team Type 1

Attn: Strip-A-Thon Contest

1231 Collier Rd, Suite N

Atlanta, GA 30318

Click on the icon to learn more.

Our plea to you all this November: please think globally and donate life-saving supplies to help a child in Rwanda. Then send them a motivating message by posting below. Why not? We're even offering prizes to make it fun ;)

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

Disclaimer

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.