Our Diabetes Community is getting a bolus designed to strengthen our advocacy, education and support for people with diabetes across the United States.

Today, the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF) announced the nine winners of its inaugural Seeds Grant Program, a project funding initiative that we introduced you to back in March as a means to foster brilliant ideas in the community and strengthen projects already underway to improve the lives of people with diabetes (PWDs).

Nine innovative diabetes advocacy projects throughout the country are each getting a $2,000 micro-grant, funded by DHF sponsor Sanofi U.S. Diabetes.

"Our goal is to support promising projects, and help advocates through grants that assist them in taking their projects to the next level," said DHF co-founder and president Manny Hernandez.

As you likely know, the DHF is the non-profit umbrella organization behind D-community initiatives including the TuDiabetes network, the Big Blue Test global "test-in" awareness campaign, and the Diabetes Advocates, a program uniting individual online advocates to work together for the greater good.  The Seeds micro-grant program is their latest effort, kicked off in 2012 and open to any diabetes-focused non-profit 501(c)3 organization or Diabetes Advocates member.

A total of 33 proposals were received, and a group of D-advocate judges (Disclosure: I was one of the judges) narrowed that list down to 16 finalists. Each finalist was asked to produce a three-minute video about their project, and then our community had a chance to weigh in with votes that would choose the winners.  More than 1,200 votes came in.

And now, without further ado, here are the winning projects we chose as a community (!):

Theme: Empowering PWDs


Aim: to support the production of an empowering series of exercise videos aimed at people living with diabetes. These videos, developed for people with beginner-to-intermediate levels of fitness, will present sound, medically-based instruction and information on how a person with diabetes can exercise safely.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: fellow type 1 Ginger Vieira from Burlington, VT, who is a certified ISSA personal trainer, certified cognitive coach, D-blogger, and author of the book "Your Diabetes Science Experiment" about living with type 1 diabetes.


Riding on Insulin, UK

Aim: to support conducting a Riding on Insulin camp at an indoor snow site in London, UK, expanding the reach of this successful camp teaching snow skills and diabetes management to children and teens living with type 1 diabetes around the world. Led by pro-snowboarder Sean Busby, who lives with type 1 diabetes himself, a Riding on Insulin camp experience is meant to prove to families that anything is possible with diabetes.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winners: Mollie and Sean Busby, who live in Utah. She serves as executive director of Riding on Insulin Camp.


Rumor Mill


Aim: to support the writing, production, and distribution of a graphic novel aimed at inspiring and informing teens living with type 1 diabetes. The plot explores how a teen can respond constructively when the very actions he must take to maintain his health (e.g., injecting insulin) are misunderstood, mislabeled, and become grist for the rumor mill.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: Cheryl Eklund in Madison, WI, a mom of two teens living with type 1 and founder of Our Wisdom Shared, a website aimed at giving parents of kids iwth chronic illnesses real life advice on handling everyday challenges.


Theme: Educating & Informing

Drinking with Diabetes

Aim: to support the production of a guide on the health implications of drinking alcohol for college students living with diabetes. This guide is aimed at fostering healthful choices and a dialog about alcohol and diabetes between students and their families.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: Bennet Dunlap in Philadelphia, PA, a healthcare communications consultant, D-blogger at Your Diabetes May Vary, and father of four including a son and daughter living with with type 1.


LIFT - Levántate!

Aim: to extend family support for people with diabetes in low-income communities, in a bilingual program "without walls," focused on engaging low-income and at-risk youth and adults in managing diabetes with diet and exercise.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: Richard Waxman in San Rafael, CA, executive director of LIFT-Levántate.


The Sweet Lowdown - Broom Street Theater

Aim: to support development of a play about diabetes at the nation's oldest thriving experimental community theater in Madison, WI. The production will use music and dance to demonstrate how the science of diabetes works, and as a powerful way to educate a lot of people and eliminate myths about diabetes.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winners: Mary Fairweather Dexter and Matt DeFour in Madison, WI. Mary is a recognized playwright diagnosed with LADA in 2004, and her plays have been produced in Wisconsin, IL, and in Southern California. Matt, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1999, is a journalist, and what he describes as a "grateful husband and father."


Theme: Connecting People Touched by D

You Can Do This Project

Aim: to broaden participation in an ongoing online project that connects people touched by diabetes. To date, You Can Do This has broadcast videos from more than 100 people, each telling his or her own diabetes story and encouraging others with diabetes that they too can cope with their diabetes and follow their dreams.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: Kim Vlasnik in Nebraska, a fellow type 1 and D-blogger at Texting My Pancreas who is a former cartoonist here at the 'Mine (!).


College Diabetes Network (CDN) Chapter Toolkit

Aim: to publish and distribute a hands-on chapter leadership toolkit for this student-led network to empower students with type 1 diabetes through peer support and access to information. This grant is focused on building local chapters faster and more effectively on 45 college campuses around the country.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: Jo Treitman in Boston, MA, a fellow type 1 who serves as CDN program director and chapter coordinator.


World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange

Aim: to recruit volunteers and hire assistants to promote the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange initiative, in which participants send and receive handmade postcards to promote healing through creativity, connection, and activism, and to reinforce the Blue Circle as an international symbol of diabetes care, in celebration of Diabetes Month in November.

Watch the Seeds video.

Winner: Lee Ann Thill in Philadelphia, PA, a longtime type 1 and D-blogger at The Butter Compartment who is a certified art therapist.


Wow! Aren't these great programs to receive grant money? We think so!

We believe that every person who submitted an idea has helped prove what a great D-community this is. These nine micro-grant projects are surely just the start of what's in store, in terms of patient-led grassroots efforts to improve the lives of people with diabetes. Bravo to all!

Your thoughts and feedback about these grant projects?

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


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.