This month's Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (DSMA) Blog Carnival asks our community to stretch our imaginations, in order to address one of their funnest queries yet:
Disney just gave you funding to create a character with diabetes. What type of character would you create? What would your character's message be?
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Let me start by saying that my wife and I are huge Disney fans. OK, that me rephrase that: Suzi's love for all-things Disney has pulled me into that world in the 12+ years we've been together. We went to Orlando for our honeymoon in 2005, the first time either of us had been since we were kids, and we had a blast visiting the parks and just soaking up the vibe.
At our wedding reception, our friends even gave us some Mickey and Minnie ears to wear for the festivities. We were digging through some packed-away boxes recently and came across those ears -- and just had to put them on and dance around the house like kids again...
So, as you can tell, I was immediately a fan of this DSMA question. Putting my creative thinking cap on (along with my Mickey ears!), I started mulling over what type of creature could embody what anyone, young or old, might want to see in a new Disney-diabetes character.
From that little creative corner of my mind, I bring you: Beta, the mouse with diabetes!
I know, right!? How perfect would Beta be for our D-Community! A perfect compliment to the existing Disney character, Coco the Monkey with Diabetes, who came on the scene in 2011 thanks to a partnership between Disney and Lilly Diabetes. Coco has been widely popular, getting some play in books, especially in the past months with Lilly making an effort to reach out to our D-Community and making these creative Coco books more widely available to PWDs and families who want them.
So, continuing the D-push that Disney has already begun, we'd offer Beta as the newest member of the family.
Beta would be a boy, of course, since Coco is a girl who sports a nice purple ribbon on her head. So just like Mickey & Minnie, we'd have Beta & Coco for all the little D-kiddos and their families (and us Adult PWDs who share the Disney love) to get behind.
We'd LOVE to see Disney embrace a character concept this like, and we even have an initial concept drawing for Beta The Mouse with Diabetes here, brought to you by our regular cartoonist Jerry King. Blue accessories -- get it?!
A whole stream of thought hit me when envisioning this new Disney Diabetes Disney push; it could go beyond one or two characters to create an exciting whole new world of Disney D-action:
- Checking blood sugars would be no big deal for Beta, and he'd have no limits on being able to scurry around the Disney theme parks and outside world, as long as his blood sugars were in range and he took care of himself.
- Beta could name his continuous glucose monitor 'Sleeping Beauty,' because it'd help keep him level at night without having to wake up to check his blood sugars.
- He would eat healthy and count his carbs, but would also love the occasional ice cream, cupcake, and candy (but not the sugar-free kind). That would help show that "Yes, he (and we) can eat that!"
- Sometimes, though, Beta's BGs on his little Mouse Meter would go high or low no matter how he was managing his diabetes. So Beta would refer to those accompanying mood swings as his 'Beauty & The Beast' moments.
- Beta could don the Blue Circle and help spread the message about it being the universal symbol for diabetes, no matter where you're from. He'd love to color with blue crayons, and would usually have some with him (along with his meter and supply case!) to give out to any color-craving kids.
- There would also be a magic genie, like in Aladdin, and Beta could earn wishes based on his blood sugars and A1Cs being in range. But like in Aladdin where you can't wish for someone to fall in love with you, this Disney genie wouldn't be able to grant a cure for diabetes. He'd have to settle with the latest and greatest D-Gadgets that the genie could conjure up.
- With Coco and Beta being prominent Disney D-characters, this would be a great time for Disney to start thinking about adding Low Blood Sugar stations with juice boxes and snacks around the parks. Just in case.
- Maybe one of the 101 Dalmatians could double-up as a diabetes alert dog, too!
- I like what Brenda Bell said about her D-mouse variation named Younger, who'd carry a "special" type of cheese in case he went low. Of course, we cheese fans would be more than OK with that treatment.
- My friend Peter PANcreas could become part of the Disney family of D-characters, too, hanging out with Beta for insulin shots and sugar boosts every so often.
- Captain Hook could get in on the fun as well, and learn to test his own blood sugar without having to use a lancet, but rather his alcohol-swabbed hook!
- Beta could have a team of medical professionals for whatever might be going on, and Nurse Pig from the Muppets could even start along the path to become a certified diabetes educator to help Beta and other children and adults with diabetes.
- For those visiting Space Mountain or Epcot, maybe there'd even be guest-appearances by some friendly space aliens that have existed for centuries and watched over Earth. They could help educate visitors about the history of diabetes as they've observed it through time, how far we've come with all the cool D-tech in the current century, and what diabetes research might mean for the future! (a nod to fellow DOCers who mentioned this on Twitter!)
- We could even use that Howard the Duck song, since the Lucasfilm picture from back in the 80s is now technically part of Disney after last year's acquisition... Instead of Howard, the Duck - we'd have: "Beta, The Mouse. Living with dia-be-tes. And showing you that we don't have to conceal it!
Some other fun thoughts from the original #DSMA twitter chat that I got a kick out of were:
Kelly Rawlings: "Did I hear Disney's gonna do movie about animated organs & the pancreas is main character? No, I did not."
Melissa Lee: "A heroine with D who didn't do anything related to D except check her blood sugar and go on with her adventures."
D-Mom Jennifer Christensen: "An Octoroo. Part octopus part kangaroo, (which has) plenty of suckers to poke to check BGs and a big pouch to carry all the things."
Kerri Sparling (who was thinking along the same mouse lines as I was): "A mouse. And I'd never, ever cure it. #revenge"
See, it would be a whole new world indeed! As our friend Kelly Kunik noted on the Twitter chat: "When you wish upon a pancreas... you find a pretty amazing community of D-friends who 'get it!'"
As for messaging, there are any number of positive, fun, educational and REAL messages that could be promoted here -- an unprecedented chance to spread D-awareness into millions of places within and outside the Diabetes Community. To show everyone that, when it comes right down to it, You CAN Do This.
Hey, this could all happen, right..!?
After all, we've already got Coco! Now, we just have to get that funding from Disney...
This post is our March 2013 entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. Click here to learn more if you'd like to participate too.