With today being Groundhog Day, you might think hearing one phrase repeated over and over in the Diabetes Community is a sign you're living in a real-life version of that Bill Murray movie.
But don't worry, you're not -- this diabetes advocacy message is an important one and truly worth repeating: Spare a Rose, Save a Child.
For the third year in a row, this grassroots diabetes effort is now under way through Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.
If you haven't heard about this before, it's pretty 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.
Five dollars (or roughly the cost of a single rose) supports the life of a Third World child with diabetes in need of insulin for a whole month. And the price of a full dozen roses could ensure that child lives for an entire year!
Seriously, it's that easy.
A news release hit the wires on Thursday, announcing this third round of SpareARose, that's made an incredible difference for those on the global diabetes stage. This effort originated several years ago when a small group of D-advocate friends met to brainstorm ways that social media efforts can be used to do good. They were able to secure the backing of the JnJ Partnering 4 Diabetes Change program, and in the past two years the program has blossomed like... flowers!... and taken root in our community.
In the debut year of 2013, when this web-based effort was first unveiled, our community managed to raise $3,000 in the course of a single week before Valentine's Day.
Then in 2014 for Year Two, we went gangbusters by raising more than $27,265 from a total of 834 individual donations across 24 countries, helping about 454 kids.
Now for 2015, the goal is much more ambituous and bold, as we hope to collect $50,000 in order to help 700 more children.
Yes, we can do this!
'Roses Spared' for Important Cause
The money from all of these spared roses goes to the International Diabetes Federation's Life For A Child program, an incredibly worthy organization that processes these contributions and sends them to established centers helping children and youth with diabetes in developing countries. As IDF reports, a contribution 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 full month of life for a child, and a dozen roses that cost $60 supports a whole year of life.
It's no secret that in many places around the globe, a diabetes diagnosis is a death sentence -- simply because that child (or adult) doesn't have access to life-sustaining insulin. And even if they do get a dose or two, nothing about the future is certain and the access may not last. This is an outrage, as the IDF has been saying for years; we continue striving towards the goal of #Insulin4All becoming a reality -- especially poignant now that we're closing in on the century mark from when insulin was first discovered in 1921.
Those of us whose lives depend on insulin know exactly what it's like to deal with off-target blood sugars, how miserable it makes us feel -- let alone the experience of rising to highs that put us in danger of life-threatening DKA. It's pure hell, and that's what so many across the world are faced with regularly.
Through #SpareARose, we are directly able to make a difference in the life of a child who needs help.
As the campaign mantra says: "Flowers die, children shouldn't."
We All Can Make a Difference
Dozens of us in the diabetes community are taking to our blogs and social media streams, including Facebook, to get word out about SpareARose.
The organizers have also created a pretty cool In My Office tool, allowing all of us to pitch the campaign in the places we work to get our colleagues involved.
We're working on doing so at our new home here at Healthline, and we hope all of you will do what you can help spread the word.
I'm personally also contacting my local flowershops that are running lots of "Heart Day" flower sales -- asking them to hang flyers in their stores about this initiative. Another thing we can all do is reach out to our local JDRF and American Diabetes Association chapters to make sure they're participating, and promoting SpareARose among all their members.
Everything you need to support this effort is online -- from a handy FAQ, a YouTube video about the Life for a Child program, images to use and share, and even business cards and clever promo cards and messages to hand out to people. Of course, don't forget to use the Twitter hashtag #SpareARose to help keep track of all the chatter.
So what about it, Friends? Will you join us in sparing at least one rose (or more) this Valentine's Day season?