The butter compartment of my fridge is fully stocked with unopened bottles of chilled insulin.
I'm so very thankful to have this medicine that keeps me alive, when so many people around the world cannot say the same. Sadly, more than nine decades after insulin was discovered, universal access to insulin is nowhere near what it needs to be. In some parts of the world, children are literally dying because they don't have access, meaning that a D-diagnosis is truly a death sentence.
That's why I personally get so passionate about the grassroots initiative called Spare a Rose, Save a Child. Now in its second year, this campaign leading up to Valentine's Day gives everyone in the Diabetes Online Community and beyond the power to do something to help.
You may remember the debut campaign last year, which came together very quickly after a small group of our DOC friends met to brainstorm ways that social media efforts can be used to do good.
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The idea that emerged is simple: instead of buying the typical "dozen roses" that are so popular on Valentine's Day, you buy just 11 and donate the value of that last flower to help a child with diabetes. You still get to be romantic and give your loved one roses, while you both show some love to someone who really needs it.
Yep, it's really that easy.
The money goes to the International Diabetes Federation's Life For A Child program, which processes contributions and sends them to established centers helping children and youth with diabetes in developing countries. As IDF reports, contributions of just $1/day supplies regular insulin, glucose monitoring equipment, and sorely needed diabetes education to these less fortunate CWDs (children with diabetes).
As the IDF notes: One rose at $5 equates to a month of life for a child, and a dozen roses that cost $60 is a whole year of life.
We're now just days away from Valentine's Day, and our community's done an incredible job in almost meeting the goal of $10,000! The IDF tells us that as of early Monday morning in Belgium (which is seven hours ahead of us on Eastern time here in the States), we've already raised $9,500 so far during the 2014 campaign. That's from 278 individual donations, and we still have five full days left (including the big flower-buying day itself on Friday) to raise more!
That's pretty amazing, especially considering we've raised more than three times as much as we raised during last year's campaign that lasted only a week and had 848 campaign-related tweets using the hashtag #SpareARose.
Very impressive, DOC!
***UPDATE*** Our D-Community has done it, reaching and surpassing the initial $10,000 goal and raising more than $14,000 as of Wednesday, Feb. 12! New "unofficial" goal is $15k by Valentine's Day.
This year, multitudes of diabetes bloggers have been posting about the initiative since it kicked off Feb. 1. The Spare A Rose site has a place where you can share a link to your post so it can be tracked, but it's clear that many more posts are popping up that haven't been added there yet. We've counted about three dozen blog posts to date, and many are sharing the icon on Facebook pages and their blogs (like we've done, here in the upper right corner of the 'Mine!) and we expect plenty more awareness-spreading in the coming days.
Some folks are hosting giveaways or motivational pushes to encourage more participation. And we're also hearing that many D-Advocates are taking this message offline into their own local D-communities and to the general public, through flower shop campaigns and workplace campaigns to help spread the word.
Much of the energy this year seems to have sprung from the recent Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum in January, when a group of DOC'ers spent part of the event listening to Dr. Fran Kaufman talk about the heartbreaking lack of diabetes care and medicine in Third World countries. The group there kicked into action, talking about last year's Save A Rose campaign and figuring out ways to "take it into the stratosphere" for 2014.
A press release was issued on Jan. 31, which was picked up by many newspapers and online sites. Pharma has also rallied behind the effort, with diabetes companies like Roche , Medtronic and JnJ spreading word internally and putting up banners on its website and using its own social media channels to help promote the campaign.
Some new aspects this year: there's a workplace flyer to take into the office to get your colleagues involved, plus several other promotional flyer choices to print and share. And there are clever cards (Certificates of Awesome) that can be sent with the roses to your loved one. Plus you can even send an online Awesome Message for your loved one, which many have already done (me included!).
It's very heart-warming indeed to see our community coming together like this for such a great cause!
Kerri over at Six Until Me has been one of the key voices leading the effort. Check out her great wrap-up of the Medtronic event and how the Spare A Rose discussion transpired, and don't miss Monday night's DSMA Live 'Rents show where Kerri and D-Dad Jeff Hitchcock (of Children With Diabetes) will be talking about #SpareARose.
I've done all I can from my end here in Indy, short of the workplace campaign since I work from home... but I've been actively promoting to those I know locally in the Indy area, urging them to take this campaign into their workplaces. The Indiana chapters of both ADA and JDRF have also voiced their support and are sharing the word, and I can only assume other local chapters are doing the same.
We'd love to hear what you're doing, whether it's online or offline. And please, make sure to head on over to the Spare A Rose site and post links to anything you've written.
IDF says this about the campaign:
"It is truly amazing, our thanks really go to the DOC for this creative campaign! Donations like this are incredibly important, since about 70,000 children and youth worldwide don't have access to the care they need to survive with type 1. Of course, that's only an estimated number since the data's limited from many countries and so many kids die early on."
-- Sara Webber, spokesperson for the IDF
Webber says the money raised this year is earmarked for expanding the Life for a Child program into new sites. She says that during the past six months, IDF has signed agreements for seven new centers in Cambodia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Republic of Congo.
This video shows the need for this program, and what #SpareARose is all about:
With diabetes doing so much damage across the globe, it really does our hearts good to see all the love and support that can materialize when people band together. We couldn't be more thrilled to see this campaign growing, and succeeding as it is -- clear proof that our D-community has the power to make positive changes in the lives of PWDs worldwide.
Love and Life, yo. What two better elements to give on Valentine's Day?